TORONTO -- The University of Toronto has received a $250-million donation, a "transformational" gift it says will be used for health-care research and medical innovation.

The school said it is the largest donation in its history.

"This incredible donation lifts Canadian philanthropy to a new level of vision and impact," said Meric Gertler, the university's president, at a news conference Thursday.

"It will catalyze discovery across U of T's faculty of medicine and its network of partner and affiliated institutions."

The university said it will rename its faculty of medicine after the donors, James and Louise Temerty.

The money will be used in a wide variety of applications including a new building for the faculty, as well as research on machine learning in medicine, biomedicine and entrepreneurship.

"It will extend every single aspect of our programs, transforming education, research and clinical care for decades to come," said Trevor Young, the dean of the faculty.

He said they will launch a centre for artificial intelligence that will explore machine learning of diagnostics, drug discovery, surgery and patient care.

"We will fund collaborations across U of T's network of world-renowned teaching hospitals and research institutes to make lasting, positive impacts on research areas from neurodegenerative disease to cancer to suicide prevention," Young said.

He said the school will also "vastly increase" admission bursaries to medical students and establish an elder-in-residence position and an elder circle "to help ensure Indigenous health education is embedded in our faculty and is supported in perpetuity."

The school said some money will also be used on equity that includes scholarships for students of diverse backgrounds, with a focus on Black and Indigenous students.

Young said they also have access to unrestricted funds to go after star researchers and necessary equipment.

The school's COVID-19 fund will receive a $10-million boost that will support front-line clinical work and work by faculty members to improve testing, vaccine research and treatment strategies.

"This truly is transformational," he said.

James Temerty said he and his wife made the donation because they were inspired by the school's discoveries, from insulin nearly 100 years ago to stem cells to the development of the pacemaker.

"Our hope and goal by committing this gift is to ensure the Temerty Faculty of Medicine will continue to take that leadership position and register more of those firsts," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.