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St. Michael’s Chapel reopens after flooding

Toronto, May 25, 2016

By Kaitlyn Patterson

Interior view of St. Michael's Chapel
Interior view of St. Michael's Chapel.

The Chapel at St. Michael’s Hospital has reopened following three months of repairs for damages initiated when a pipe broke in an old radiator and flooded the third-floor sanctuary.

Staff removed the chapel’s pews and carpet within hours of the Feb. 15 flood, preventing mold from growing.

Three St. Michael’s carpenters, Tony Araujo, Miguel Medeiros and Darryn Cove, reassembled and reattached pews to the floor and cupboards in the sacristy after the Chapel was dried, inspected by Infection Prevention and Control and cleaned.

Sprinklers, which were already planned to be installed to ensure the Chapel met the Fire Code, were put in during the repair period to avoid another closure. The Chapel also received a fresh coat of paint for the first time since the 1980s.

“Everyone from engineering to environmental services to housekeeping was involved,” said Peter Thompson, manager of Spiritual Care Services at St. Michael’s. “The front-line staff was extremely dedicated and acted immediately.”

When the carpets were removed, the original terrazzo flooring with a variety of colours and designs was found underneath. Frank Faria, a core facility worker from Environmental Services, cleaned the glue left behind from the carpet, then buffed, polished and sealed the floor to bring it back to its former beauty. Blue flooring was then installed around the pews by Franco Ruffolo, a maintenance mechanic from the Engineering Department.

“One of the things that stood out to me was the extra care the staff gave during this process,” said Thompson. “We really felt the team had great plans and designs.”

The stained-glass windows restored in 2014 were not harmed by the flooding. The windows were designed in 1939 by Yvonne Williams, one of the first female stained-glass artists.

The Chapel was built in the Bond wing in the late 1930s.

Mass was held on Pentecost Sunday, followed by a Mass on Monday, May 16 that included a prayer for the St. Michael’s Hospital community and the repaired sacred space.

The Chapel is open for Mass which takes place at noon Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Thompson said the Chapel is open daily for prayer and reflection from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., staff can access the Chapel using their ID access card. A camera will be set up outside the Chapel so patients and visitors can notify security to unlock the door from their office.

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.