Toronto

CAMH Queen Street Redevelopment | ?m | ?s | CAMH | KPMB

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andreapalladio

Guest
I only put them on when giving absolution. I wear my tiara for royal weddings, and while dusting.
 
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building babel

Guest
I have two kimonos, though I've only worn them, briefly, a few times. The older one is painted, and has several small family crests on it - which I think indicates it is for formal occasions. The other is brightly embroidered with flying cranes and I think is for a wedding. I bought them both about ten years ago at the Sunday antique market they hold across from your building.
 
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Ed007Toronto

Guest
AP and BB, you have your own thread for this. Please take it there.
 
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Bogtrotter

Guest
Not nearly enough for Canada's premier mental health facility. But a step forward nevertheless.
 
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ganjavih

Guest
ganja: When you're overseeing the mental health of Ontario I hope you'll push for humane reforms - so that delusional people can not only dress up as who they think they are, but run bus tours and dress-up parties once a year during Nuit Blanche. Everyone should be able to release their inner Napoleon for a few hours, and maybe their inner Privy Councillor and Cardinal Richelieu too.
There's nothing to prevent these "unique" people from doing that now!
 
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bizorky

Guest
I have one such person below my window "singing." I have no idea if she donned a costume for the event, however.
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

Guest
Star: Breakout at the Asylum (CAMH)

From the Star:

Breakout at the asylum
From `inmates' to `clients'
Feb 25, 2007 07:18 AM
Leslie Scrivener
Staff Reporter

The schizophrenic unit is not welcoming. Its rooms are cramped and faded. Curtains hang torn; window seats are without cushions. The halls are so narrow that, in an emergency, a stretcher has to be tipped up to get around the corners.

The desks in the small rooms suggest books and study, but no one is reading. Patients sit on the linoleum hallway floors, staring into space, or they gaze absently at a television in a common room. Some lie in bed facing the cinderblock wall, which is painted a dismal yellow.

This is one of the four buildings, built in the early 1970s, at the 1001 Queen St. W. site of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The idea was to create a therapeutic milieu, to draw patients to group activities in a university residence-like setting. Modest in scale, the four-storey buildings were an alternative to the sprawling institutions of the past. But instead of bringing people together, these buildings have led to further isolation. All in all they have been a failure.

"For people in despair and troubled times in their lives, this doesn't do anything to help," says Dr. Paul Garfinkel, president and CEO of CAMH, while walking a visitor through the centre. "Beautiful spaces are important, and become even more important when you're ill."

Now Garfinkel is overseeing the most daring redevelopment in the hospital's 157-year history. It will bring into a single hub services that are now scattered across the city, including addiction treatment at the Donwood Institute and the former Addiction Research Foundation, and research and treatment at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

But the most challenging and controversial aspect of the CAMH makeover is the plan to open the hospital's grounds to the neighbourhood while integrating the neighbourhood into the grounds. It will be the first large-scale "urban village" mental-health facility in the world.

Being marketed with the slogan "Transforming lives here," the $380-million-plus CAMH renovation aims to transform the site's institutional character in order to make patients' experience closer to "normal" life in the city. The scheme involves criss-crossing the 27-acre property with public streets, constructing a home-like environment for those the CAMH now calls clients instead of patients, and leasing out street-level retail space to restaurants and other businesses. It's envisioned that clients, staff and neighbours will mingle naturally on sidewalks, parks and cafes.

"This is a model to fight stigma," says Garfinkel, 61, "to make people feel they don't pay an extra price for this illness."

Stephen Crawford, a 30-year-old communications student at George Brown College and former in-patient, looks forward to the transformation, hoping it will change attitudes both within and outside CAMH.

"When you have low-functioning liver or heart disease, no one blames you," he says. "But the brain is an organ, too. When I first came here, I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed people would think I was crazy. But I don't really see it as any different from cerebral palsy. I have a visible disability, which everyone understands, but I also have an invisible disability no one can see."

The 12-year reconstruction, which began last fall, will further transform a neighbourhood that has already experienced dramatic changes in recent years thanks to the makeovers of hotels like the Drake and the Gladstone, to blocks of new housing nearby, and to the arrival of galleries, restaurants and specialty boutiques.

The Queen St. W. hospital has seen various rebirths over generations. Each metamorphosis has reflected a new way of treating and housing people living with mental illness, and their relationship with the city.

The first Provincial Lunatic Asylum, a magnificent Victorian structure built in 1850, hid patients behind walls, in theory for their own protection. Though the architecture changed with demolition and rebuilding in subsequent eras, the "asylum" model continued. By the 1970s, there was a trend to place public institutions in garden-like settings, and to break up large hospitals into smaller units. The result: a campus model for the Queen St. institution. But the hospital, separated from the street by its vast, treed park, still seemed cut off and foreboding.

Under the new scheme, Ossington Ave. and Givins St. will cut through the grounds, converting the area into nine city blocks. All but one of the buildings – the forensic unit, for people with mental illness who have had contact with the law – will be demolished. Half of the 2.5 million square feet of new space will be for hospital use, and the other half non-hospital, with a range of possibilities including grocery stores, a market garden, artists' studios, craft shops, medical labs, mixed residential space, a fitness centre and a library.

The project is being funded by the province and private and corporate donations; leasing land and retail space will generate revenue. CAMH still needs to raise $100 million for redevelopment, as well as programs and endowments.

There will be no bars or liquor stores in the new development, but restaurants that serve alcohol are likely possibilities (there are already several in the immediate neighbourhood).

Frank Lewinberg, an urban planner and architect at Urban Strategies Inc., which wrote the CAMH redevelopment master plan, compares the overhaul of the site to the renewal of Regent Park, the public housing complex that is undergoing a $1-billion transformation. Social stigma has existed there, too, along with streets that ended at the edge of the property, effectively cutting it off from the greater life of the city. "What we're saying here is, `Let's not allow one use to predominate. Let's make it a mix of private and public, all the things that make up a city, so the snow is cleared by the city of Toronto, and anyone can drive through there or ride a bike through.'"

Construction of the first units, one for administration and three for patients with addictions and mood disorders, is underway. Each structure will be four storeys, with 24 beds in each of the treatment buildings.

The rooms there, for those set to make an early transition back to the community, are double the size of existing ones, meeting Ministry of Health standards. They'll have private bathrooms and feel more like comfortable motel rooms. Clients will have their own keys and street addresses. The sense is of a temporary stay, not institutionalization for life, though certainly some of the hospital's older patients will live out their lives there.

A nine-storey limit applies to the whole development. Buildings along Queen St. W. will be three storeys stepping back to six.


There have been small examples of integration of psychiatric patients into the commercial or residential life in other cities. Garfinkel recalls staying in a hotel in Trieste staffed by people undergoing psychiatric treatment. Springfield University Hospital in London is working toward a large redevelopment of its beautiful but decaying 19th-century asylum buildings, also on the urban-village model, but is still at the planning stages.

So CAMH is a pioneer. "This is new territory they're breaking," says John Archer of Urban Marketing Collaborative, the retail consultant for the makeover.

And Garfinkel is convinced it will work. "I think people are going to enjoy a quiet little village in bustling, trendy Queen St.," he says. "We're going to show that people with mental illness are just like you and me."

Still, not everyone is convinced. "If you change the environment, do you change attitudes toward people with mental illness?" asks Lucy Costa, an outreach worker for the CAMH's empowerment council, which represents the views of the clients.

Overall, those who get treatment at CAMH have come to be in favour of the development, Costa continues, though increased gentrification of Queen St. is worrisome, and it's not clear if low-cost housing will be a part of the plan. "Activists say, `What we'll see is what we've always seen: people on the margins will be pushed further to the margins.' People living in poverty and in boarding houses, pushed to the outskirts. Remember, people like to hang out where they feel welcome."

Mel Starkman, 65, who was treated at the hospital at various times over a 13-year period, has concerns. "The final vision, with intermingling of stores and all kind of facilities is great," he says. "But a great number of clients don't get well – you see them hanging out in front of the hospital. Can you see them in a swinging area? Frankly I can't."

Further west on Queen St., at the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, a mental health agency, director Victor Willis praises the makeover, saying it "will take down the last vestiges of the asylum – the custodial attitudes and the way we deal with people who are different."

But Dr. Patricia Cavanagh, a psychiatrist at Toronto Western Hospital who did part of her training at Queen St. and lives in the neighbourhood, isn't convinced that getting rid of the "asylum" aspect is an entirely good thing. "It did provide a safe harbour, a refuge – without being paternalistic – for people who are very much stigmatized. And even though it was open, it still had the sense of being a protected place, of belonging to the patients.

"I worry that as it becomes a seat of academic psychiatry, and with all the buildings and buses, it will lose its sense of being a special place for these people."
Today, the strip of Queen St. across from the hospital entrance is dreary and notably different from the revitalization that marks the streetscape immediately to the west and to the east. But it was the promise of redevelopment that drew Filbert Wong, whose family co-owns the Barako Coffee shop, which opened in 2005. Rents only a few blocks east were double and triple, he says. "This location was not that prime, but before we got it we heard that the area will be developed and more business will come."



Many of his customers are outpatients of the hospital. "I don't see any problem. They're the same as us, just ill."

While cafés, art galleries and small, independent stores are welcome, a residents' group fears that the development will include fast-food joints and a 38,000-square-foot grocery store on Queen west of Ossington.

"A large grocery store and fast-food restaurants would destroy the heart and soul of the character of the neighbourhood," says Peter Aziz, a lawyer who lives with his family on Crawford St. He fought CAMH at the Ontario Municipal Board until his association, Concerned Neighbours of CAMH, ran out of money. The two groups settled their differences in mediation at the OMB. CAMH agreed not to include a hotel or a Queen St. methadone clinic in the redevelopment.

Zoning does allow for a large retail store and a pharmacy, but no decisions have been made on the retail component. "We simply want flexibility," says Joanne Campbell, CAMH's vice-president of communications. "We're not going to put anything on Queen St. that isn't going to work on Queen St. We want to make sure there are employment opportunities for our clients and that uses fit and are accessible to our folks."

There's also concern about the loss of trees. A decision was made to remove mature trees on the west side of the property after Ministry of Environment testing last year revealed soil contamination from burned municipal waste that was used there as landfill in the 1800s. However, CAMH says it is planting three trees for every one that's removed in the first phase of construction on Fennings St., and that 20 per cent of the site will be given to green space.

Campbell contends there is overall neighbourhood support. "Two or three people doggedly oppose what we are doing," she says, adding that CAMH has been discussing the changes with hundreds of residents and local businesses for years, at open houses and focus groups.

In the face of criticism and doubters, Garfinkel remains optimistic about the hospital and its patients.

"It's a bold thing to do and the right thing to do. We have mistreated these people, and they deserve a humane and caring society and treatment. If we do this, society will change. Remember, people used to hold their breath when passing the hospital, and in the 1900s saw patients as a sideshow. The point is, we can change."

AoD
 
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Junctionist

Guest
Re: Asylum/Dufferin jog

I can't believe no one commented on how they're rebuilding the thing after only 30 years. The building isn't as bad as the slanted article portrayed it. Reconstructing/improving some areas would be cheaper.
 
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alklay

Guest
Re: Asylum/Dufferin jog

How is the article slanted?

And how do you know that it can be 'reconstructed' for cheaper?
 
J

Junctionist

Guest
Re: Asylum/Dufferin jog

My concern was with the first paragraph:
The schizophrenic unit is not welcoming. Its rooms are cramped and faded. Curtains hang torn; window seats are without cushions. The halls are so narrow that, in an emergency, a stretcher has to be tipped up to get around the corners.

The desks in the small rooms suggest books and study, but no one is reading. Patients sit on the linoleum hallway floors, staring into space, or they gaze absently at a television in a common room. Some lie in bed facing the cinderblock wall, which is painted a dismal yellow.


Which casts such a negative light on the current buildings which are only 30 years old. Clients don't have to sit on the floor because of a lack of space, I bet. In most parts, the conditions are not dreadful. Who's to say that in thirty years when the "village" buildings start to show age, we won't do the same thing (decide "screw it, let's knock it down and try again")? The campus model doesn't so flawed as to require the whole thing to be destroyed. There is ample park space to relax and find comfort in, clients already work in cafes inside the building and many clients are already connected with Queen Street.
These people still have mental illnesses, which are unique in effect on behavior. In the village people will walk into a restaurant, see a few clients starring blindly, or talking loudly with a lot of swearing. Will you take their family there? Creating the illusion of a normal life complete with faux apartment is not guaranteed to help. Or does the new model seem like a hotel?

Do you you know which option is cheaper? Where are the studies? They are not alluded to in the article. Sorry, it's not slanted, just questionable and unconvincing because it fails to adequately appraise the current facilities and acknowledge their merits.
 
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mark simpson

Guest
Re: Asylum/Dufferin jog

reconstruction on average is costlier than building new and the current sprawling campus probably doesn't allow much for the needed expansion as part of the consolidation of three sites into one
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

Guest
Re: Asylum/Dufferin jog

junctionist:

The issue, beyond the cost effectiveness of reconstruction, is the how the current asylum by being physically separate from the rest of the city, which reinforces the notion that all people with mental illness is somehow a threat, and should be separated from society.

One shouldn't conflate people with mental illness with the 1% that is physically threatening to others. It isn't like the "village" model will somehow result in these very individuals being released into the general populace and wreck havoc.

On the issue of merit - merit to whom? Individuals who suffer from mental conditions, or people who think that locking them up and throwing away the key makes them feel safer?

AoD
 

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