Ontario breaks ground on $1.6-billion expansion at CAMH

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ontario Premier Doug Ford attended a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday and announced $1.6 billion for the design and construction of two new buildings at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

The new Secure Care and Recovery Building will provide a safe haven where some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients can recover with dignity.

Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) awarded the project to PCL Partnerships to design, build and finance the CAMH Phase 1D Redevelopment project.

The PCL Partnerships team includes:

  • Applicant Lead: PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
  • Design Team: Diamond Schmitt Architects & Architectural Resources
  • Construction Team: PCL Constructors Canada Inc.

“The physical transformation of our Queen Street West site is turning what was once a walled institution into a symbol of hope for the future of mental health care,” said Sarah Downey, CAMH president and CEO. “With the construction of the Secure Care and Recovery Building and Discovery Centre, we will continue to provide the highest quality care to our most complex patients and accelerate research discoveries and developments that will improve the lives of those living with mental illness, because mental health is health.”

A larger forensic mental health program will be available to patients with mental health problems who have become involved with the justice system, but are not sentenced to jail or prison. An additional 214 in-patient beds will be available for people with complex mental illness who are under court-ordered care and require enhanced treatment and higher security for their own safety and for that of the public.

“This expansion is a major step forward in improving mental health care here in Toronto and throughout our province,” said Ford.

Architect Bruce Kuwabara said the new campus is a reminder of the progress made on mental health and addiction over the past few decades.

“Twenty years ago, no one would put their name on a building for mental health,” said Kuwabara, whose firm designed the curvy research centre under construction at Queen and Shaw Streets.

This is the fourth phase and final phase in two decades of redevelopment at CAMH. As well as improving care and creating hope, the work is addressing the stigma surrounding mental illness by breaking down the physical barriers that once separated CAMH from the community.

For more information about CAMH’s redevelopment plans, click here.

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