Rekai Centres presented their proposal for a long term care home called Cherry Place in the West Don Lands to the Waterfront Toronto's Design Review Panel. Montgomery Sisam Architects are the designers of the facility that will bring 348 long term care beds to the neighborhood. (Rendering above via submission to Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel).
According to an article in Urban Toronto, Rekai Centres is a local non-profit and has two long term care homes already in the downtown Toronto area. One is at Sherbourne and Carlton and the other is further north on Wellesley. This new facility will be located on Block 5 of the West Don Lands and fronts onto Cherry Street between Front Street and Eastern Avenue.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, long term care has taken its toll and the industry has learned quite a bit from this ordeal. Rekai is quick to acknowledge this and says that this pandemic has caused them to make important changes in the design of the new centre. Combined with projected shortage of beds moving forward into the 2020's, 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 the following:
- Two negative pressure isolation rooms
- The additional option of transforming the activity room into a third isolation room
- Garbage and laundry chutes have been placed with isolation procedures in mind
- Ground floor will feature a nine-station dialysis centre run cooperatively with St. Michaels Hospital and ensuring 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.
Rekai College will launch right alongside the new Long Term Care centre and will offer 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.
Other programming at the College will include special Dementia floors and coded according to colour schemes chosen by a Master of Colour Therapy from OCAD University.
The latest plans have changed from the orginial. The new plans have dropped the high-rise Option for Homes portion, and will leave a more modest 13 storey, 53.7 metre tall building given over to the Long Term Care Centre.
Montgomery Sisam 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 and 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 already shown support for this project.
Posted by Judy Lamelza