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Campaign mounts to have Muzzo name removed from York Region, Toronto hospitals

Petition, anger come in the wake of children's father, Edward Lake's suicide
June 22, 2022
Jeremy Grimaldi

A social-media campaign is mounting to have the Muzzo name removed from public buildings, including parts of Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital and Toronto’s SickKids.

It has come about in the wake of the death of Edward Lake, the father of three children, Daniel, Harry and Milly Neville-Lake, who were killed when a car driven by Marco Muzzo while he was drunk in September 2015 smashed into the minivan in which they were travelling. The crash also resulted in the death of Lake’s father-in-law, Gary Neville.

Lake was found dead Monday, the day after Father's Day. He died by suicide, learned.

The movement to remove the Muzzo name includes a petition on and a mountain of grief shared on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, many citing the Muzzo name on hospitals.

“Every time I drive past the Mackenzie Health hospital in Vaughan I am forced to look at the Muzzo family name," Twitter user @pasta_creator said. "It sickens me to see that name associated with recovery when I think of all the pain that this (man) caused. And here we are again."

However, it doesn't appear as though Mackenzie Health will be doing any such thing with Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital.

In reply to requests for comment, hospital spokesperson, Christina Cindric, said the hospital would not be removing the Muzzo name from the building.

"We do not have any plans to remove the signage on the building, as it recognizes the family’s long history of philanthropy, including many generous donations to Mackenzie Health," she wrote in an email. "Their contributions helped build an exceptional health care facility for the community and for that, we are very grateful."

This is not the first time there have been movements to scrub the Muzzo name from GTA towns, or at least to clarify.

Following the crash, in 2016, Mississauga changed the name of Marco Muzzo Memorial Woods and Park, which was named after the convicted impaired driver’s grandfather, to Marco Muzzo Senior Memorial Woods and Park.

The petition started June 20, bearing the name Barbara Anne Smith as its creator, asks people to get involved to pressure these organizations to take the Muzzo name off hospitals.

"Marco Muzzo is responsible for the deaths of 5 people, including 3 children, due to drunk driving," the description reads. "His family should not be honoured with buildings bearing their name."

Online, many social media users remain angry at the decision to name the De Gasperis-Muzzo Tower at the Vaughan hospital after Muzzo's family. The De Gasperis and Muzzo families jointly donated $15-million to the hospital.

"I cannot even begin to explain how much the name Marco Muzzo enrages me," wrote user @prnjbrn. "To be able to kill 4 people while drunk driving, have your family donate $15M to build a new hospital for the city, only serve 6 years in prison and then be granted full parole is a privilege I cannot fathom."

"This is an incredibly tragic situation and our hearts are with the Neville-Lake family as they mourn another heartbreaking loss," Cindric added. "We understand the strong emotions people have expressed related to the recognition displayed on our hospital, and we accept and respect their concerns."

Sick Kids also responded to the request, suggesting there's no plan to change anything.

"We were saddened to learn of the Neville-Lake family’s recent loss and we send our deepest condolences as the family continues to face unimaginable grief," wrote spokeswoman Sandra Chiovitti. "In 2006, the Muzzo family foundation made a gift to SickKids Foundation in support of our operating suites redevelopment project and a small plaque recognizing the gift was placed in a nearby hallway. There are no plans to change this donor recognition at this time."

Jennifer Neville-Lake, Lake's widow, tweeted a message of tribute.

"The eyes he shared with Harry are forever closed. Daniel's curls will never shine in the sunlight again. I will never see Milly's shy smile creep across his lips anymore. My children's father, Edward Lake, has joined our kids so they can play together, forever. Mahal kita, Edward,” it reads.

Through a friend of the family, she has asked for any donations to be directed to her charity, Many Hands, Doing Good.