Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is moving forward with its latest effort to evolve its facilities. 

On December 16, the leading mental health research hospital announced that a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) had been issued to design, build, and finance the Secure Care and Recovery Building as part of their 1D Redevelopment Project. 

Marking a step forward, Toronto-based construction company PCL has been prequalified to continue in the procurement process for the next phase in CAMH’s transformation. This decision was based on requirements outlined in a RFQ process that started in early 2022. 

The Phase 1D Redevelopment Project is the fourth and final part of the hospital’s broader redevelopment project. The multi-phase renovation of CAMH’s Queen Street site has transformed what was infamously once a walled institution into what it calls an “inclusive, respectful, and dignified campus that helps break down stigma and better address the unique mental health needs of patients," says CAMH. The most recent phase included a new and enhanced TD Commons green space and two new buildings: the Crisis & Critical Care Building and the McCain Complex Care & Recovery Building, and was also led by PCL.

But the transformation is not yet complete in all of its innovative and inclusive glory. This next development of the phase will include two new CAMH buildings on Queen Street West to replace existing facilities for patients with complex mental illness who have encountered the legal system, and to consolidate research in one state-of-the-art facility. 

CAMHThe future Research Centre

The Secure Care and Recovery building is a Ministry of Health funded project to redevelop CAMH's existing facilities for patients with mental illness who have encountered the law. The current space is a dated, old, institutional building that was not purpose-built for modern concepts of forensic health care. "If you walk on site, these are the 1960s era concrete structures near the back of the property," reads the CAMH website. "CAMH is mandated and funded by the province to provide forensic mental health care. This new facility will expand and create new programming to help us better support our patients in their recovery, ultimately making our community safer and healthier."

According to CAMH, the new building will also include upgrades to the existing forensic services and additional indoor and outdoor support spaces. Once completed, it will include dedicated family visitation areas in the inpatient units, enclosed outdoor areas to support recovery, outpatient services, security, and building support services.

Meanwhile, the shiny and new seven-storey Research Centre will consolidate current CAMH research from across the city into one centralized location. "This building is essential to our redevelopment, as it will help advance research currently being conducted to influence the future of mental health care," reads the CAMH website. "As a global leader in mental health research, we know that with the construction of this new facility, we can continue to be at the forefront of research discoveries and developments that will improve the lives of those living with mental illness."

According to CAMH, the predicted ground-breaking for the next phase (Phase 1D) -- to replace existing facilities for patients with complex mental illness who have encountered the legal system -- will take place in October 2023. This will include “Early Works,” says CAMH, namely, the demolition of current buildings on campus, including the Community Centre. Following this, CAMH expects to break ground on the state-of-the-art Research Centre in January 2024. 

The complete transformation is expected in 2027. 

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