CAMH’s breaks ground and makes history: welcome to a new kind of hospital

March 30, 2010 (Toronto) – The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is making history. On April 6, CAMH is breaking ground on the next phase of its landmark redevelopment project, transforming the site of what was originally the 1850 Provincial Lunatic Asylum into a modern, welcoming ‘urban village’ in the heart of Queen Street West. Nothing quite like this has ever been done before.

The unique groundbreaking ceremony will give attendees the opportunity to see the future of CAMH’s urban village, and hear what CAMH clients, community members and political representatives have to say about the transformation. The open-invitation event will take place on April 6, 2010 at 1001 Queen Street West at 11 a.m. in the Community Centre.

This project started with a bold vision: to transform care for people with mental illness and addictions, change attitudes, and improve our city. The result is a remarkable multi-phased redevelopment that opens up CAMH’s sequestered 27-acre site to the community, creating an inclusive new neighbourhood where psychiatric facilities blend in with local cafes, businesses, parks and residences.

“CAMH is building a hospital where being part of the community is part of the treatment,” explains President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn. “This is a proud moment for our wonderful City. This redevelopment gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance care for people with mental illness and addictions, foster scientific discovery, empower patients, and eliminate barriers in the context of a civil society. With our neighbors, we are changing the face– and the future– of mental illness and addictions.”

The CAMH redevelopment enables a unique, integrated model of care and client recovery based on the most advanced knowledge in addiction and mental health. Outmoded institutional facilities shrouded in stigma are being replaced with buildings designed to promote client independence, hope and recovery.

Transforming Lives Here

This phase will see the creation of CAMH’s 60-bed Intergenerational Wellness Centre for both youth and geriatric patients, introducing Canada’s first inpatient facilities dedicated to youth aged 14-18 with both mental illness and addictions.

Two more new buildings are going up on new public streets that will run through the campus and weave it into the community. CAMH’s new Gateway Building will streamline services for outpatients in the Addictions Program and Mood and Anxiety Program and introduce a street-level gymnasium and a client-run caf� for the entire community. A third building will centralize utilities and parking above client assessment and training facilities and a family outreach and resource centre.

This is a green project and CAMH will be the first hospital in Ontario to obtain LEED Gold certification for leadership in energy and environmental design.

“This project will enhance the quality of life and the quality of treatment offered to families across Ontario that rely on the specialized care provided by CAMH,” says Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid. Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are working with CAMH and Carillion Health Services to redevelop the hospital, with support from the CAMH Foundation.

“The buildings are designed to be transparent, to bring natural light on to all floors, bedrooms and treatment rooms, to afford clients a variety of choice over their surroundings, from access to private courtyards and terraces to new public parks,” explains Alice Liang of Montgomery Sisam Architects, one of the three architectural firms of C3, Community Care Consortium, responsible for the CAMH Master Plans, design of the first phase, as well as being part of the Planning Design Compliance team for the current phase. “The new design creates an environment that focuses on wellness and recovery, that is welcoming and home-like, calming and therapeutic. What is most exciting about this project is that the healing environment is truly integrated within a vibrant neighbourhood in the city.”

CAMH’s Queen Street Administration Building, with a concrete fa�ade that has served as the face of the site for over 50 years, is being demolished during this phase. In its place on Queen Street West will be the first non-hospital use structure of the new urban village,developed by Forum Equity Partners and Verdiroc Development Corporation. This building will feature street-level retail and 179 units of much-needed affordable housing. As well as serving the neighbourhood, this will further connect CAMH with the surrounding community.

Event Logistics:

Where: 1001 Queen Street West Community Centre (enter through Unit 4 Lobby)

When: Tuesday April 6, 2010, 11 am

  • Master of Ceremonies: Andy Barrie
  • Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Brad Duguid
  • CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn
  • Vice-Chair of the CAMH Foundation Board of Directors. Ana Lopes
  • Deputy Mayor and City Councillor Joe Pantalone
  • CAMH Clients Angela Foot and Nick Carveth
  • West Queen West BIA Chair Dante Larcade

Photo Op: Unique Sod-turning ceremony on historic site of original asylum at 11:45 am.

About The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development, prevention and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.