Transformation of the intersection of Gerrard St. E and Broadview Ave. has reached a major landmark this month with the completion of a new facility for one of Riverdale's oldest institutions, the 150-year-old Bridgepoint Hospital. The hospital, which is associated with the University of Toronto, has for many years focused primarily on patients with complex chronic disease and disability. Bridgepoint, now the largest facility of its kind in Canada, has built a brand new 680,000 sq ft Leed-Certified building which will house all of its patient care operations. (Adminstration will be in the repurposed and restored Don Jail building onsite.)
Some of the features of the state-of-the-art complex now include larger therapy gyms located on each patient floor, increased ambulatory space, a larger therapeutic pool, new green spaces which include parks and public gardens that fully integrate with the nearby Riverdale Park, added living space and an overall doubling of the existing therapy space.
Before we take a look at the ultra-modern structure, it's important to remember that a few buildings have come before it. First, the 1875 Riverdale Isolation Hospital opened at what was then the edge of the city to treat patients with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. After that, the current building called the "half-round" which opened its doors in 1963, saw not only a modern-for-the-time structure, but a new mission statement for the facility focusing on complex disease and disability cases as well as research and education. The shot below looks at that building from the Don Valley Park to the north.
As with most historic buildings, and especially ones that have defined a neighbourhood's feel and purpose for so long, there are usually a lot people invested in keeping these aging structures alive. The old curved hospital building that has looked over the Don Valley for 50 years is no exception. Local residents have fought to keep the building from demolition since the project was announced nearly a decade ago. The difficulty in saving the building has to do with the extremely cost-inefficient retrofit needed to bring the building up to modern health care standards or indeed for other repurposing. The demolition will commence once patients have completed the move to the new facility later this Spring.
The new 10-storey structure was designed in a partnership of Diamond Schmitt Architects, HDR Architects, KPMB Architects and Stantec Architecture , with Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg and MBTW Group handling the landscape design. We've got a couple of recent pre-completion shots from the UrbanToronto Forum below.
Handover of the keys to the new building was celebrated yesterday. The Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care stated "This project demonstrates our goverment's commitment to provide Ontarians with access to the right care, at the right time, in the right place as part of our Action Plan for Health Care. Bridgepoint's new facility will provide improved access to health care services for Ontarians, enhancing the quality of life for patients with complex chronic conditions".
As mentioned above, one of the other notable features of the project is the repurposing of the Old Don Jail which will now house the administrative offices for the complex. The Don Jail has historical significance in the area. Built between 1862 and 1865, the building officially dubbed "The Toronto Jail" even though it was the fourth to built in the city, is one of the very few remaining architectual landmarks from pre-Confederation Toronto. The facility closed in 1977 and has remained relatively untouched for close to half a century prior to the massive renovation and restoration work currently underway. Below is a photo of the original Jail building in the 1860s.
The modern hospital building, built by Plenary Health with the help of Infastructure Ontario and The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is now complete but is not planning on transfering its patients in untill April 14th. Below is the orginal rendering for Bridgepoint. How does it measure up?!
Want to know more about this project? Check out the UrbanToronto dataBase listing below, or join in on the discussion in our Forum thread.