On the outskirts of Sudbury, on each of the two roads that lead into town, you will see a large red billboard emblazoned with a simple message: “Be an organ donor. Tell your Family.”

These unique billboards have remained in the same spot for 10 years. A constant reminder to all who go to Sudbury that organ donation can save lives.

According to an analysis by the Toronto Star, Sudbury has the second highest rate of organ donor registration in the province. About 34 per cent of residents have registered their consent for organ and tissue donation with Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network.

That it is easier to effect change in smaller communities, where people are more likely to connect with a friend of a friend of a friend, is likely just one of the reasons there is a wide variation in organ donor registration rates in Ontario.

Data obtained by the Star, released by Ontario’s Ministry of Health under access to information laws, shows a stark difference in rates of organ donor registration.

Swaths of northeastern Ontario from Muskoka through to Sudbury and North Bay and the northern shore of Lake Superior have registration rates more than 30 per cent. A neighbourhood in North Bay has the highest rate in Ontario at 43 per cent.

Toronto sits at the bottom of the list. Only four per cent of residents who live in neighbourhoods in the northwest of the city register to be organ donors and rates in many other enclaves hover around eight per cent.