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St. Michael’s breaks ground on construction project, including 17-storey tower for critically ill patients and expanded Emergency Department

Toronto, April 17, 2015

By Leslie Shepherd

Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower

Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins was on hand today as St. Michael’s Hospital broke ground for a redevelopment project that will include a new 17-storey patient care tower to care for critically ill patients and renovations that will nearly double the size of the Emergency Department.

Construction of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower at the northeast corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in downtown Toronto is expected to take three years, during which time the hospital will remain open. The remaining work renovating 150,000 square feet of existing space will take a further two years.

“We’re breaking new ground in more than one way today,” said Dr. Robert Howard, the hospital’s president and CEO. “This project is going to transform our Emergency Department, transform patient care by providing the right space and right facilities, and help us achieve our goal of becoming the premier critical care hospital in Canada.”

Dr. Hoskins, whose government is investing $316 million in the project, called St. Michael’s the “heart and soul of the city.”

“This bold redevelopment project will touch the lives of many,” he said. “This project is vision.”

Highlights of the project include construction of a 250,000-square-foot patient care tower that has been specifically designed to care for critically ill patients—from those requiring emergency surgery to those being treated in the Coronary Care Unit, the orthopedics unit or the largest adult cystic fibrosis clinic in North America.

The tower, named for Peter Gilgan, the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, will include five new purpose-built, state-of-the-art operating rooms designed to incorporate medical imaging equipment such as MRIs, CT scanners and X-rays and two new intensive care units, a general ICU and one for coronary patients.

All in-patient rooms in the new tower will be single rooms, providing more privacy for patients and better infection control. Every room will have natural light, which has been shown to promote overall health and reduce falls. Every room will have dedicated comfortable space for families, to involve them in patient care, leading to better outcomes.


Get an aerial view of the floor-by-floor changes now officially under way at St. Michael's Hospital. (Rendings by NORR)

Gilgan donated $30 million to the redevelopment project, the largest single donation in St. Michael’s history.

The Slaight Family Emergency Department will nearly double in size. The ED now sees more than 75,000 patients a year, about 1.5 times the number it was designed to handle. The new ED will also have a complete suite of imaging equipment fully staffed around the clock. There will be a dedicated mental health area, a quiet, clinically effective and secure area, physically separated from the rest of the ED. It will be staffed 24/7 by dedicated, specially trained Psychiatric Emergency Service.

The Slaight family donated $10 million toward the ED revitalization.

For the first time, the hospital will have a real front door off Queen Street, a light-filled, welcoming entryway into the hospital. A new pedestrian highway running throughout the first floor, improving wayfinding for patients and visitors, will be known as Element Financial Way. An atrium in the new tower, which is intended to be the heart of the hospital, will be named the Element Financial Atrium.

Element Financial Corp. donated $15 million toward the construction of the patient care tower, the largest one-time gift St. Michael’s has ever received from a corporation.

The project also includes a new three-storey structure to replace the 100-year-old Shuter Wing.

Infrastructure Ontario and St. Michael’s Hospital have awarded a contract to Bondfield Construction to design, build and finance the hospital’s expansion and redevelopment project. Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are working with St. Michael’s Hospital to manage the renovation and new construction at the hospital. At the peak of construction there will be approximately 400 workers redeveloping the facility.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Media contacts

For more information, please contact:

Leslie Shepherd
Manager, Media Strategy, St. Michael's Hospital
416-864-6094
shepherdl@smh.ca