Last week, Brampton's Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness officially opened amidst Provincial fanfare. Located on John Street a few blocks east of Brampton's Downtown Main and Queen intersection, the health centre is adding crucial capacity to the rapidly growing region. Now officially open, the $530 million outpatient facility provides a variety of specialized services, including urgent care, day surgery, and senior's rehabilitation and wellness, as well as a range of facilities specifically catering to mental health, and women, children, and adolescents. 

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario Peel Memorial exterior, with showing lobby entrance, image by Craig White

Designed by Toronto's Diamond Schmitt Architects in collaboration with RTKL Canada Inc., the 300,000 ft² health centre's diverse range of programming is notable for the lack of overnight stays, with the facility entirely dedicated to outpatient services. Focusing on high-tech diagnostics, the Peel Memorial Centre's patients are either allowed to return home, or are transferred to more traditional hospitals with overnight care facilities, including the Brampton Civic Hospital.

From 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Peel Memorial's Urgent Care Centre also provides more time-sensitive diagnostic and lab services for non life-threatening conditions. Staffed by emergency-trained physicians, the UCC additionally provides formal and informal classroom and demonstration rooms, giving members of the community opportunities to learn about health, nutrition, and wellness.

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario A closer look at the Urgent Care Centre exterior, image by Craig White

While the outpatient programming helps make the specialized facility more focused and efficient, the emphasis on shortening hospital stays is also predicated on reducing stress and facilitating the healing process. Since extended hospital stays can be draining on mental—and, in turn, physical—health, an increasing number of facilities are designed to promote healing at home. Peel Memorial joins newer institutions, like Toronto's re-built Women's College Hospital, in working to reduce the amount of time spent in hospital. 

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario A closer look at the colourful lobby entrance, image by Craig White

At Peel Memorial, the design of the facility attempts to re-inforce the sense of comfort provided by shortened hospital stays. While spending a long time in the hospital can mean a slower and less comfortable healing process, re-thinking the institutional and affectless environments still associated with healthcare facilities has played an important role in improving the patient experience.

These days, hospital lobbies can appear to have more in common with malls and food courts than the hermetically sealed, off-white labyrinths of corridors and waiting rooms that can still come to mind when imagining institutional healthcare spaces. Often characterized by retail, bright colours, and ample natural light, some spaces in new hospitals don't really feel like hospitals at all. And they're not supposed to.

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario Moving inside, the central lobby, image by Craig White

Peel Memorial is no exception. Characterized by wood tones, floor-to-ceiling windows, and open spaces, the Diamond Schmitt design exemplifies much of the new orthodoxy in healthcare design. Stepping inside, the triple-height lobby's open-concept design is emphasized by natural light, with windows framing the space around the central staircase.

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario Another view of the lobby, image via Peel Memorial Health Centre

Highlighting the main entrance, coloured glazing brings a cheerful, mildly playful element to the space. Past the wood-framed staircase, another set of windows  Leading directly to one of the building's four courtyards, the lobby looks out onto the similarly wood-toned outdoor room, which is meant to provide a quiet environment for both patients and staff. 

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario One of the four courtyards, image by Craig White

The courtyard is one of four such spaces throughout the hospital, three of which are accessible from street level. A smaller elevated courtyard is found at the northwest edge of the building, with the open space framed by a pair of walls to create a calmer, wind-protected environment. Given the bulk of the structure, the courtyards also allow for natural light to reach more of the building, fostering more pleasant environments. Similarly, the use of wood tones and varied colours is meant to help reduce stress and inspire a sense of wellbeing. 

According to Diamond Schmitt Principal Greg Colucci, "We strove to make patients feel at ease and to de-stress the experience of entering a healthcare facility by creating an environment that supports wellness and connects with the community. Complementing the bright, naturally lit interiors, Colucci adds that Peel Memorial is "enlivened with community meeting rooms, food services and patient information facilities to promote a sense of vitality and liveliness."

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario Another courtyard reveals some tonal variety, image via Diamond Schmitt

At ground level, small kiosks and retailers dot the space. The lobby is served by a gift store / convenience store, while a pop-up space lining one of the colourful hallways allows independent vendors to set up shop. (On the day of our visit, sunglasses were on offer). Around the corner, a demonstration kitchen leads to the cafeteria and dining area, which is lined with west-facing windows that overlook patio seating and a therapy garden.

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario The courtyards bring natural light to the multi-coloured hallways, image via Diamond Schmitt

Commemorating the official opening, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was joined by Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins, and a variety of local and Provincial dignitaries to celebrate the opening. Built to meet LEED Silver standards, the hospital was funded via a partnership between the Province and the City of Brampton.

Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, Brampton, Ontario Outdoor seating, image by Craig White

As is the case with hospitals throughout Ontario, up to 90% of construction costs (or, in this case, up to $451 million) are covered by the Province, with the Municipality responsible for approximately 10% of construction costs ($60 million was provided by the City). Finally, 100% of equipment costs were procured through community-based funding, which included health care partners, local municipal governments, and private donors. The facility was developed by the Plenary Health consortium through a Design, Build, Finance, Maintain model, with construction led by PCL Constructors, and signage by entro Communications.

Built on the site of the former Peel Memorial Hospital, the new health centre comes online almost a decade after the 2007 opening of the Brampton Civic Hospital. While the 608-bed Civic Hospital nearly doubled the capacity of the former 367-bed Peel Memorial, the region's extremely rapid population growth—which has brought almost 300,000 new residents to the City since the turn of the millennium—meant that the new Civic Hospital quickly reached capacity, necessitating another new facility. 

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We will keep you updated as the City of Brampton continues to develop, and one of Canada's fastest-growing municipalities continues to evolve. To learn more, make sure to check out our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or add your voice to the conversation in our associated Forum thread.