To help protect the health of the community, The University Hospital Foundation (UHF) will not be holding the Festival of Trees in 2020 due to COVID-19


Edmonton, AB – April 30, 2020 – Since 1985, the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees has served as one of the Edmonton area’s largest and most cherished holiday celebrations. This kick-off to Christmas brings together the community to view creative tree displays, enjoy holiday shopping and live entertainment, and attend special events – the Gala Evening & Auction, the Luncheon & Fashion Show, Santa’s Breakfast and the Silver Bell Soiree – all to raise money to support healthcare for Albertans. 


Over its 35 year history, the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees has raised over $20 million for the University of Alberta Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and Kaye Edmonton Clinic. It’s the flagship fundraising event for the UHF, and has a significant scope – the 4 day event is put on by over 2,000 volunteers and staff, and brings over 30,000 visitors each year. Given the immense planning and significant expense to put on this event, the UHF had to make this decision now. 


“The most important thing in the world to us is the health and wellbeing of our community, patients, donors and healthcare staff,” said Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, President & CEO of the University Hospital Foundation. “We all need to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the healthcare system until a vaccine is available, or public health officials say it is safe to come together in larger gatherings and our community is comfortable doing so.” 


Despite the fact that the Festival of Trees won’t take place in 2020, the UHF will be looking at other ways to engage supporters. “The community and healthcare system are facing a challenge unlike anything any of us has experienced. We are keenly aware of the pressures on the physical health, mental health, and economic health of Albertans,” said Jodi, “and this Christmas will be a time we’ll all need to pull together to support each other even if we have to remain physically distant.” 


In the meantime, the UHF is supporting Alberta in the battle against COVID-19 through various initiatives. In part through funds raised by the Festival of Trees, we are working with other health foundations to fund a new mental health service that is supporting tens of thousands of Albertans struggling with anxiety and depression during these unprecedented times, Text4Hope. Text COVID19HOPE to 393939 to subscribe to receive daily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – based text messages written by mental health professionals. 


The UHF has also committed funds for equipment needs at the University of Alberta Hospital site, and several other COVID-19 related requests from Alberta Health Services that are currently being reviewed. 


And past donor support has had a major impact on the healthcare provided at the University of Alberta Hospital site, including providing advanced life support equipment and the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. Both may have a significant impact in the current fight against COVID-19. 


We sincerely thank the community for the incredible support we’ve received over the years and for your understanding of this difficult decision to move our next Festival of Trees to December 2021. We thank our amazing volunteers and the businesses who make the Festival possible. We encourage people to continue to support the community builders who have supported the Festival of Trees. Our sponsors from 2019 included Landmark Homes, Shelley & Guy Scott Family Foundation, Sherrick Management, Capital Power, Jet Label, Allard Developments, Chartwell Residences, Rocor Holdings, Creekwood Collections at Chappelle, Enbridge, Cameron Corporation, Edmonton Convention Centre, Rosenau Transport, and many others.


University Hospital Foundation 

The University Hospital Foundation raises and manages funds to advance patient care, research and healthcare innovation at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic. For more information visit

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  • Mikiko Van Horn
  • Communications Specialist
    University Hospital Foundation

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