The shovels hit the dirt for a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday at the site of a future residential hospice in Penetanguishene.

'Tomkins House' will be a five-bed hospice that serves North Simcoe County.

Organizers had hoped to open the facility last year, but a lack of funds stalled plans until an unexpected donation of $1.5 million gave the push needed to keep going.

The province also pitched in by making good on a funding promise by the previous government to match funds of $200,000 per bed for a total of one-million-dollars, plus an additional $525,000 annually toward the costs of the nursing and personal support staff.

Kelly Hubbard, Interim Executive Director with Hospice Huronia, said in a statement on Wednesday that while they are fortunate to have a lot of support, they are still short of reaching their financial goal. "We're excited to finally see the start of construction, but it doesn't mean the end to our fundraising. Based on the construction bid, in order to open the doors of Tomkins House, $900,000 is still needed to furnish the residence, purchase specialized medical equipment and operate the first year."

The fundraising continues on May 26th with the annual Hike for Hospice at Wye Marsh.

Construction on the new facility is expected to begin sometime next month, with the hopes of opening the $4-million hospice by the spring of 2020.