In 1988, Dr. Michael Sole founded the Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CCR) largely focused at the Toronto General and Mount Sinai Hospitals. The CCR initiated the Annual Cardiovascular Scientific Day, a Distinguished Visiting Professor Program and a competitive annual personal support program for Fellows and Students. Startup funds for new investigators, co-operative Faculty recruiting between the Departments of Medicine and Physiology, a Common Equipment Funding competition and integrated programs (Bench to Bedside) in Heart Failure, Atherosclerosis and Arrhythmias and a Clinical Trials Unit were established.
In 1999, Dr. Sole, with a joint donation of $13 million dollars from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) and the family of Richard Lewar broadened the original CCR by creating The Heart and Stroke Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence for cardiovascular research at the University of Toronto (the Centre). The purpose of the Centre is to bring the best of cardiovascular sciences at the University together, including basic sciences, clinical investigations and community health. The Centre’s Director reports to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and with an Executive Committee and Donor’s Due Diligence Committee chaired by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, will jointly with its membership develop the Centre’s research and education programs.