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architect's renderings of a proposed new building for SickKids

January 2019

Welcome to the new SickKids eNewsletter. Distributed quarterly, this publication will focus on a topic and highlight where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going: the THEN, the NOW and the NEXT. Please enjoy our most recent publication, and if you like what you see, subscribe now!

Message from Dr. David Naylor | Then - SickKids debut on University Avenue | Now - An outdated facility | Next - The new SickKids


It has been a privilege to support SickKids during this time of transition as the search for the new CEO moves to a conclusion. In recent years, the hospital has modernized its health information system with a state-of-the-art installation of Epic. However, while our information systems are now up to date, our aging and outdated buildings have become a hurdle. We certainly felt it over the holiday season with an overflowing Emergency Department, intensive care units at capacity and pressure on the inpatient units. No doubt about it: we need new facilities.  

‘Project Horizon’ is the name of the audacious campus redevelopment plan that will meet those needs. It will not only completely transform how the SickKids campus looks, but also how we will deliver care to our patients, some of the province’s most critically ill and injured children. As planning continues, we have already commenced the process of demolition of the McMaster Building on the corner of Elm Street and Elizabeth Street. In its place, a Patient Support Centre, as we’re calling it, will eventually be home to SickKids physicians, professional, administrative and support staff.

On behalf of the entire SickKids family, I want to thank our wonderful staff, healthcare partners, and community for all they have done to advance and support our mission. That mission – to provide the highest-quality care, do cutting-edge research, and create a great learning environment – has defined SickKids’ past and present. Project Horizon will ensure that SickKids continues to flourish on all those fronts for generations to come.  

David Naylor, Interim President and CEO

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Since its beginning in 1875, SickKids had been growing in size and expanding in scope, to respond to the need for specialized children’s health care. On Feb. 4, 1951, almost 70 years ago, the Hospital moved to its current location at 555 University Avenue. It was a state-of-the-art hospital to match the quality of care provided to its patients. Pictured here is the “new” hospital rising along University Avenue on May 30, 1949. It took around two years to build and has been SickKids home ever since.  

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A new SickKids is on the horizon, but until then, SickKids is making improvements, where possible, to respond to the current needs. Technological innovations in health care are driving advancements in child health, but modern, flexible space is needed to accommodate these. The current hospital, once a state-of-the-art facility, is struggling to support the fast-paced advancements and the high volume of patients requiring care.

The plans for the Patient Care Centre are happening now, but opening day is still a decade away. In the meantime, renovations need to be done. Areas in need of crucial infrastructure renewal at our current location include the emergency department, neonatal intensive care units, critical care units, bone marrow transplant unit and mental health units.

We’ve started to address these needs. Patients in the blood and marrow transplant unit are among the most immuno-compromised in the hospital, requiring isolated space to protect themselves from infections. SickKids performs more than 50 per cent of all bone marrow transplants in Canada. These patients simply cannot wait for a new hospital. Renovations to expand this unit will be completed as an interim solution.

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The first phase of Project Horizon is the creation of the Patient Support Centre, housing some of our education, clinical research and administrative services. This is a critical first step to move staff out of the oldest parts of our campus to make way for demolition of a portion of our existing facilities and construction of the new hospital. The will allow SickKids to remain in its current location on University Avenue.  We are thrilled to share with you our first renderings of the new Patient Support Centre to paint a picture of what it could look like. Ground-breaking is expected at the end of 2019 with a proposed opening in late 2022.

Phase two of the redevelopment project is to build the new hospital, known as the Patient Care Centre. It will have roughly 430 inpatient beds to meet the demands of modern, family-centred care –significantly increasing capacity from our current bed volume. The Patient Care Centre will include a new blood and marrow transplant unit with specialized ventilation systems to ensure Ontario’s sickest children are receiving the highest quality of care. One hundred and twenty single patient rooms for critical care patients will allow for patient privacy and improved infection prevention, 19 operating rooms will be able to respond to new technologies and procedures and an expanded Emergency Department will allow for more patients to be treated.

Learn more about our campus redevelopment plans.

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