The Douglas Wright Foundation is a charitable organization devoted to fighting melanoma cancer in Canada by increasing awareness, educating the public about early detection and preventative measures, and fostering partnerships between likeminded organizations. Below are some of the initiatives the Douglas Wright Foundation has undertaken to further these goals. 


#BeSunSafe Sunscreen Dispenser Program

The success of the #BeSunSafe program in waterfront parks in 2018 has prompted the City of Toronto, the Douglas Wright Foundation and the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund to expand our public health program providing free sunscreen in select City parks this summer. The purpose of the #BeSunSafe program is to prevent skin cancer by raising awareness of the importance of sun protection. 

The Health Canada-approved SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen will be available at 75 dispensers located in City parks along the waterfront as well as several new locations. High Park, Riverdale Farm and Evergreen Brick Works dispensers have been added to this year's program. 

During the summer of 2018, 50 sunscreen dispensers helped to protect up to 94,000 Torontonians and raised awareness about preventing skin cancer. The 2018 program won the Canadian Dermatology Association Public Education Award. 

The #BeSunSafe program website,, includes information about skin cancer, sun safety and a map showing the location of the dispensers. 


"Toronto is great place to live, work and play during the summer months and we want to make sure that everyone who spends time outside is practising sun safety so that they can fully enjoy all the city has to offer." 
- Mayor John Tory 

"The waterfront is a unique treasure in our city, and one of the many spots where residents and visitors alike can enjoy summer. I’m pleased that our partners have expanded this initiative to additional locations so that more people from near and far can enjoy the sun safely." 
- Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health 

"Protecting and promoting good health is important all year, and especially during summer months. Making sure to apply sunscreen regularly, wearing sunglasses and seeking shade while spending time outdoors are great ways to stay sun-safe in warmer temperatures. This initiative promotes positive health for our residents and visitors and I encourage everyone to enjoy summer activities while taking simple steps to protect themselves and reduce the risk of skin damage this time of year." 
- Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health 

"Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada. Protecting your skin in the sun is the best way to reduce your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. Our sunscreen dispensers will raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and provide sun protection to thousands. We are very proud to expand our partnership with the City of Toronto and look forward to another summer of empowering Torontonians to be sun safe." 
- Danielle Paterson, Executive Director of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund and representative for the Douglas Wright Foundation. 

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National Sun Safety Program

Youth education is the highest priority for the Douglas Wright Foundation. Canada’s youth do not receive nearly enough education in our schools and communities about the severe and deadly risks of overexposure to the sun and UV rays.

In April 2013, the Douglas Wright Foundation, in partnership with the Melanoma Network of Canada, engaged LeftRight Learning, Inc. to lead the development of a National Program on Sun Safety and Sun Awareness for Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 youth. The program, called “Screen Me” focuses on three key initiatives: (1) a Sun Awareness Camp Certification program (see below); (2) an interactive, fun and educational website for children, youth and parents; and (3) a school based education program which will be taught through the Toronto District School Boards’ Urban Forest program. 


Sun Awareness Camp Certification Program

The SUN AWARE Camp Program, launched in 2014, is designed to protect children and teens from skin cancer by supporting camp owners and directors to implement best practices in sun safety. The program is free for participating camps and is the first of its kind in Canada. The SUN AWARE certification offers a free and easy-to-follow program for owners and directors of children and youth-geared summer camps to implement best practices in sun safety. Since it's initial launch in the summer of 2014, the Douglas Wright Foundation has committed $250,000 in funding for the SUN AWARE Camp Certification Program through to 2018. This significant expenditure helped develop the Program and will help fund the Program for the coming years and help facilitate the growth of the program to additional summer camps and outdoor schools. The Screen Me Sun Aware Camp Program was chosen by the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) as a recipient of the CDA 2017 Public Education Awards in the Not-for-Profit category

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University of Toronto Douglas Wright Melanoma Award

The Douglas Wright Foundation has recently committed $100,000 to the University of Toronto Department of Medicine to create the Douglas Wright Melanoma Award. Awarded annually, The Douglas Wright Melanoma Award will inspire and encourage the 500 residents and 250 fellows in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto to embark on innovative melanoma-related research projects The award is the first of its kind at the University of Toronto.

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New Family Rule Program

The Douglas Wright Foundation, in partnership with the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, funded the development of a website and video for families outlining the need for sun protection and how to practice sun safety. The website includes FAQs for parents, information on Melanoma, a "How To" section on sun safety for parents and tools and activity sheets for children to teach them about the importance of sun safety and how to practice sun safety. The video has been viewed over 2.8 million times and is available on YouTube by clicking the button below. We encourage you to share the video with your friends, family and colleagues. 

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Melanoma Education Video

In educating themselves about melanoma, people often look to media such as websites, social networks and online videos. Unfortunately, much of the health information people find does not effectively get the information across, or lead to changes in habits.

In January 2013, the Douglas Wright Foundation committed funds to the development of a melanoma education video by Dr. Mike Evans. Dr. Mike is a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Mike's Reframe Health Lab has proven to bring together health care researchers, designers, artists, and others to devise compelling and innovative ways to deliver health messages. The video is available on YouTube by clicking the button below. We encourage you to share the video with your friends, family and colleagues.