Instead of a very large site with a wall around it, it seemed to make sense to divide it up into a series of blocks and make sure that not only could you find CAMH facilities, but housing, offices and a wide variety of other things that you can typically find in a city, anywhere. The idea is . . . that the mental health institution will disappear.
Frank Lewinberg, Partner, Urban Strategies
The urban village concept was conceived as a mix of CAMH and non-CAMH uses and activities, a network of public streets and sidewalks, public and private open spaces and a series of blocks containing buildings each with their own street address. More than simply CAMH’s new home, the site would become a prominent and welcome member of a vibrant neighbourhood.
This integration is being achieved by extending existing streets through the site, creating new city blocks and enhancing public parks, and by mixing non-CAMH land uses with hospital facilities. The site design includes a network of buildings, streets, sidewalks, retail and open spaces that create a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place for patients, visitors and our neighbours in the West Queen West community.
CAMH's vision calls for a mix of private and open green spaces—including courtyards, landscaped rooftop gardens, a greenhouse and community garden—that can be used by our patients. Nestled between Shaw and Paul E. Garfinkel parks, our new site and landscape design for Phase 1C will ensure patients have views of shaded green spaces from every bedroom window.
To support CAMH's mandate to be environmentally responsible, we have incorporated many "green" and sustainable design elements into the redevelopment project. These efforts resulted in the Canada Green Building Council awarding CAMH with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold in 2013 for our second phase (Phase 1B) buildings, the first hospital in Ontario ever to achieve this.
One of the most distinctive architectural features at CAMH’s Queen Street site is, without doubt, the historic brick wall that was built by patients in the nineteenth century. Recognizing the historical significance of the structure, the wall was designated a heritage property by the City of Toronto in 1997, along with two onsite storage buildings that were also built in the late 1800s. An archival display of the site’s asylum history lines the walls of the main floor of the Doctors Association Building.
CAMH is committed to conserving and preserving our historic landmarks. An archival display of the site’s asylum history lines the walls of the main floor of the Doctors Association Building and conservation work on the wall and storage buildings began in the summer of 2007. For the latest information, please see our Heritage Report.
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