380-bed long term care home proposed for West Don Lands

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Rekai Centres has presented a proposal for a long-term care home in the West Don Lands to the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel.

Architects Montgomery Sisam Architects have designed the 380-bed structure, DataBid.com reports, citing an article in Urban Toronto.

The non-profit Rekai Centres will add the new location to its two already operating in downtown Toronto. It will front onto Cherry Street between Front Street and Eastern Avenue.

Rekai says that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in important design changes for the new structure. Combined with projected shortage of beds moving forward into the 2020s, the reduction in density necessitated by COVID-prevention measures have made the development of new long term care facilities all the more urgent.

The home will include two negative pressure isolation rooms and the option of transforming the activity room into a third isolation room. Garbage and laundry chutes have been placed with isolation procedures in mind.

The developers say the ground floor will include a nine=-station dialysis centre run co-operatively with St. Michaels Hospital, and with maximum infection control.

“To protect the vulnerable populations from the dangers of hospital emergency rooms, the centre will have a seniors assessment program which will be run collaboratively with St. Michael’s Hospital, where community members can go to have minor health conditions treated,” DataBid reported.

Rekai College will launch with the new Long Term Care centre, offering a two-year specialized Person Support Worker (PSW) program. This will alleviate the stress placed on the system by the current shortage of personal support workers. This is also the first program of its kind in Ontario.

The building will have special Dementia floors coded according to colour schemes chosen by a Master of Colour Therapy from OCAD University.

The revised plans include changes including deleting a high-rise Option for Homes portion. The more modest 13 storey, 53.7 metre tall building will focus on long-term care.

The architects have described the exterior design as looking similar to a cruise ship, with a secondary mass stepped back above the eighth floor to allow for green space on “deck.”  A second terrace will also be on the roof of the building.

The design calls for an off-white precast framing around precast brick “slips” beside each window.

The building will also have to meet the standards of the Waterfront Toronto Minimum Green Building Requirements as well as LEED Gold.

Occupancy is planned for 2023. Below grade work is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2021. Above grade construction will follow in the first quarter of 2022.

Local resident associations have indicated they support the project, DataBid says.


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