CAMH has worked with an award-winning team of architects to transform the Queen Street site, changing the institutional character of the site and physically integrating it with the surrounding neighbourhood.
This has been achieved by extending existing streets through the site, creating new city blocks and new public parks, and by mixing non-CAMH land uses with hospital facilities. The site design includes a pattern of buildings, streets, sidewalks, new shops, and open spaces that create a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place for both our clients and our neighboursin the West Queen West community.
This integration with the community is very important to address the stigma long associated with the property and will improve and normalize the care environment for CAMH's clients.
Many ‘green’ elements have been incorporated in the Redevelopment Project to support CAMH's mandate to be environmentally responsible, including:
- A 3,000-square-foot green roof on the first phase to improve local air quality, retain storm water, and insulate the building
- A partial green roof plus white roofs on the current phase of the project.
- All three Phase 1B buildings have been designed with environmentally responsible and sustainable features in order to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, the first hospital buildings in Ontario to do so.
- A new natural-gas powered central plant located in the Doctors Association Building (101 Stokes Street) provides heating and cooling to CAMH’s tjree Phase 1B buildings, thereby maximizing energy efficiency.
- With Phase 1B of the project, CAMH will see a reduction of nearly 27% in energy cost savings.
- Our reduced greenhouse gas emissions will be like taking 220 cars off the road.
- Secure underground bicycle parking and change/shower facilities to promote bicycle use and commuting have been added.
- Green spaces, both public and exclusive to clients, have been incorporated into the site, with large-growing shade trees planted throughout the site.
Pedestrian-friendly Streetscapes and Parks
Through the Redevelopment Project, the extension of the local street network will bring the CAMH property into the surrounding urban fabric. The new streets, and those surrounding the property will provide a number of routes for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and cars. The streets will be designed as typical, urban neighbourhood streets, with careful attention paid to the creation of a safe and comfortable pedestrian realm. They will include trees, as well as pedestrian-scale lighting. In all cases, the streets will be lined up with the existing north-south running streets to the north of Queen Street West.
CAMH and the City of Toronto developed and have agreed to a set of Urban Design Guidelines that will govern the placement of street trees and lighting, the width of sidewalks, and all of the other elements that combine to create a welcoming pedestrian environment.
The Master Plan identifies three sites for public open space, Shaw Park, Adelaide Common East, and what is now Paul E. Garfinkel Park. These public open spaces will be integrated with a green network throughout, ensuring that sufficient green space is provided for clients.
CAMH has also created private open spaces to provide green space for use by CAMH clients and include gardens and a greenhouse.
CAMH's new buildings will be designed to be flexible to ensure that they can meet changing health care needs, and not become obsolete in 20 or 30 years, as the older buildings have. The new CAMH buildings have been designed to accommodate a potentially changing palette of office, meeting, and client living spaces and outpatient services.
The east-west orientation will provide the opportunity for most buildings to enjoy a good south facing exposure for passive heat gains during the winter season. Buildings maximize natural light and views; and the many trees onsite will shade the buildings and the public spaces in the summer months.
Integrating Art and Celebrating History
Art—including original pieces commissioned by artists with lived experience with mental illness or addictions— is an important part of the CAMH Queen Street Redevelopment. Each new building has a signature piece of art, a sample of which is then integrated into the wayfinding system for that building. Each piece of art has a theme of transforming lives, and contributes to a healing and welcoming environment. The fascinating 160-year history of the treatment of mental illness on the Queen Street Site has also been documented in an accessible series of museum-quality display boards.