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​(Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – Toronto) – A new era of research begins at Toronto Western Hospital with the official opening today of the Krembil Discovery Tower.

The new nine-storey building, a $174-million endeavour, has four floors dedicated to University Health Network  (UHN) research space, in addition to one floor for the  University of Toronto's Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and an additional 1.5 floors dedicated to Altum Health, a UHN enterprise that provides unique solutions for injured workers and clients.

The Krembil Discovery Tower will foster research in neural and visual sciences, musculoskeletal disease, and illnesses and disorders such as spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis and age-related blindness.

Calling the research tower one of the final pieces of the puzzle in Toronto Western Hospital's (TWH) renewal projects, UHN's President and CEO, Dr. Bob Bell explains: "Recruitment for the best researchers is very competitive in North America. In order to retain the brightest and best researchers, as well as recruit others, we have created a space that matches their calibre of work."

One such internationally renowned recruit is Dr. Donald Weaver, the new Director of the Toronto Western Research Institute. A rarity among researchers in the world, he is currently the only qualified person in Canada to be a practicing neurologist with a PhD in medicinal chemistry and drug design.  Dr. Weaver's pioneering platforms for drug discovery have earned him prestigious international awards, patents and a number of biotech companies.

"The Krembil Discovery Tower brings us to a new level in how research is conducted, what we can offer researchers, the latest in design of research space and an environment where collaboration and innovation will help us make a significant impact on so many diseases that are debilitating to our aging population," says Dr. Christopher Paige, Vice President of Research at UHN.

"We now have a state-of-the-art research building that not only supports the leading-edge translational research that is the hallmark of TWH, but also the premier training of future medical and scientific leaders in neural and visual sciences, and musculoskeletal disease," says Kathy Sabo, Senior Vice President, UHN and Executive Lead, TWH. 

The world-class Krembil Discovery Tower was funded by a combination of hospital financing, research grants and the support of many philanthropists, including the generous lead gift of $30 million from Bob and Linda Krembil and their family. A campaign led by Chair Dr. Gerry Halbert, and Honorary Chair Bob Krembil raised an additional $30 million.

Other Campaign Cabinet members include: Dr. Bob Bell, Dr. Michael Baker, Fraser Fell, Leo Goldhar, Todd Halpern, Mark Krembil, John Mulvihill, Dr. Christopher Paige, David W. Smith, Dr. Peter St. George-Hyslop and Dr. Charles Tator.​

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gave approximately $33 million in grant funding to support the development of the space and research infrastructure within the Krembil Discovery Tower.

The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation has contributed $800,000 towards the creation of research laboratories in vision and neuroscience.

"We extend our whole-hearted gratitude and congratulations to Bob and Linda Krembil and their family, as well as to all our founding donors who made it possible to build the Krembil Discovery Tower. Their generosity will help our scientists who are finding ways to cure the diseases of our aging population," says Tennys J. Hanson, President and CEO of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation.   

Select Facts about the Krembil Discovery Tower (KDT)

  • KDT will draw upon Canada's largest concentration of – more than 150 – neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and neuroscientists from TWH and TWRI
  • KDT is 30,193.5 square meters (a little more than 19 NHL ice rink surfaces)
  • KDT is 56.5 m tall (185 feet – about 36 smart cars stacked up end to end)
  • KDT contains 16,500 cubic metres of concrete (could fill more than six Olympic swimming pools)
  • KDT contains 550,000 kg of reinforcing steel (equal to the weight of 101 African elephants)
  • KDT recycled 75% of its construction waste
  • KDT is expected to use about 25% less energy than a similar building, with its use of occupancy sensors and heat recovery system
  • KDT has 120 indoor bike spots, with nearby showers and lockers
  • KDT is expected to use 60% less water, by using rainwater and low flow fixtures

About Toronto Western Hospital

Toronto Western Hospital has been serving the health care needs of its culturally diverse local community for more than 100 years. Home to the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, one of the largest combined clinical and research neurological programs in North America, the Toronto Western Hospital is a leader in medical research and also offers expertise in community and population health and musculoskeletal health and arthritis. The Toronto Western Hospital, along with the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is a member of the University Health Network and is affiliated with the University of Toronto. www.uhn.ca

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