Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute

Alberta has been at the forefront of heart care for more than 50 years. Building on the University of Alberta Hospital’s achievements in cardiac care, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute (Maz) was built on a proud history of leadership and innovation.

Key Dates

Fifty Years of Firsts

  • First recorded cardiac surgery in Edmonton (1948)
  • First open heart surgery in Canada (1956)
  • First surgery involving a heart-lung machine (1956)
  • First heart valve replacement in Canada (1962)
  • First coronary bypass operation in Edmonton (1967)
  • First catheter biopsy of the heart in Canada (1976)
  • First balloon angioplasty in Western Canada using a catheter to open blocked blood vessels around the heart (1981)
  • First heart transplant in Western Canada (1985)
  • First heart/lung combined transplant in Western Canada (1986)
  • First radio frequency catheter in Canada to open a blocked valve in an infant’s heart (2000)
  • First living-related donor lung transplant in Alberta, the third in Canada (2001)
  • First infant heart transplant right after birth (2004)
  • World’s first mechanical heart (Berlin Heart) designed for children given to youngest patient in Western Canada (2005)
  • First research centre within an acute care hospital in Canada opens with Alberta Cardiovascular and Stoke Research Centre (ABACUS) (2006)
  • First baby in Canada born during emergency open heart surgery (2008)
  • First LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver certified heart institute to open in Canada (2009)
  • First transcatheter aortic value implantation (TAVI) in Alberta (2010)
Building the Maz

With the opening of the Maz, Alberta has strengthened and expanded its commitment to the prevention and treatment of heart diseases, cardiovascular research and the education of future cardiac professionals by bringing all clinical care, research and training together under one roof.


2001: Recognizing the excellence in Edmonton’s cardiac sciences program, the Alberta Government allocates $125 million funding to the creation of the Alberta Heart Institute

2003: Premier Ralph Klein breaks ground at sod turning ceremony at the University of Alberta Hospital campus

2004: University Hospital Foundation heart institute campaign raises $30 million and the Government of Alberta provides extra $20 million bringing funding to $175,000

2005: Structural construction begins above the University hospital’s emergency department and in May, the heart institute is named the Mazanowski Alberta Heart Institute after the Right Honourable Don Mazankowski (see tab: Our Name)

2007: Scientists collaborate onsite with clinicians when the Alberta Cardiovascular and Stroke Research Centre (ABACUS) opens on lower level of the heart institute to provide basic science, population science and clinical trials.

2008: Outpatient clinics open and the first heart patients move in to the heart institute

2009: LEED silver certification

2009: Operation rooms open and inpatients move in. The Maz is officially open

2010 - 2011: Construction continues

2013: The Jim Pattison Center for Heart Health opens

Our Name

The Maz was named after an Albertan who served this province and country with distinction for more than 35 years. First elected in 1968 as Member of Parliament for Vegreville, Alberta, the Right Honourable Don Mazankowski served as a cabinet minister under two prime ministers and as deputy prime minister from 1986 to 1993.

Following his distinguished political career, the heart institute’s namesake continued to serve Alberta and Canada through his commitment to improving our health system. He was founding chair of the Institute of Health Economics, chair of the Canadian Genetics Diseases Network and member of the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta. Under former Premier Ralph Klein, he reviewed Alberta’s health system as chair of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health. His widely discussed report became known simply as The Mazankowski Report.

As part of the capital campaign for the heart institute, JR Shaw, Executive Chairman of Shaw Communications spearheaded a naming campaign to recognize Don Mazankowski’s legacy and commitment to Albertans and Canadians. This campaign received tremendous support from across Canada to honour the lifetime contribution of Don Mazankowski

In 2003, the year the sod was first turned on the construction of the institute, Mazankowski had a cardiac event requiring urgent treatment while travelling in New Zealand. In the weeks following, the former MP and health care champion saw another perspective on health systems and cardiac care. Eighteen months later on May 2, 2005, his name became the official moniker for Canada’s newest heart facility.

The institute also carries Alberta in its title in proud reflection of Premier Klein’s decision to build a world-class heart centre in a city renowned for breakthroughs in cardiac care (see History tab).

Don Mazankowski

The Right Honourable Don Mazankowski, a deputy prime minister of Canada, a health care advocate and a cardiac patient.