Calling it a "proud day" for her family and an "important" day for mental health, philanthropist Margaret McCain committed $10 million to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Wednesday morning.

The investment, which is among a series of legacy gifts made in honour of McCain's late husband Wallace, will help establish the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health at CAMH.

It's the largest donation ever made to youth mental health in Canada.

"The mission of our family foundation is early childhood development. Our goal is to get all children off to a good start in their early and critical developmental years, so they can grow to be productive, happy and fulfilled adults and investing in youth mental health is just another arm in this mission," McCain said.

The centre will be a "world renowned mental health institution" that includes an inpatient unit for youth with mental illness and addiction issues and a significant research component, McCain said.

A new youth crisis intervention team will also work out of the centre.

"I know that CAMH in the future will ensure that the terms ‘underserved' and ‘undervalued' will no longer apply to mental health in Canada, so I offer my very best wishes to everyone at CAMH for what I know will be a very bright and exciting future, one we are so happy to be a part of," McCain said.

Darrell Louise Gregersen, president and CEO of the CAMH Foundation, said McCain's donation will help "tackle one of the most pressing issues in society today".

"There are deep needs for Ontario's children and CAMH must commit talent in care, education, research and policy development to help mental health services for children and youth improve dramatically," she said.

Wallace McCain was a billionaire entrepreneur who co-founded McCain Foods Ltd.

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