Toronto (June 8, 2008) - The Honourable David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal joined Mark Rochon, President and CEO of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) to officially begin the demolition of the south wing to ready the hospital's University Centre for its capital redevelopment project.

Work to prepare the south wing for demolition has been completed. It included limited internal renovations to allow for the relocation of staff and patient care services from the south wing to the east and north wings of University Centre. The hospital continues to provide all of its specialized services at University Centre.

Toronto Rehab's University Centre capital redevelopment project, scheduled to begin this summer, includes construction of a new 13-storey patient care and research tower and further renovations to the existing 12-storey east wing and four-storey north wing.

These changes will result in over 17,000 square feet of new dedicated research space to house the hospital's growing research program, as well as dedicated education space to accommodate the increasing number of students who come to Toronto Rehab to complete their clinical training in a variety of health care disciplines. Once completed, the Toronto Rehab redevelopment project will enable the hospital to move the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Program to the upgraded and expanded patient care facilities at the University Centre and close its Hillcrest Centre.

"This project demonstrates our government's commitment to provide resources and facilities to serve the health care needs of people across Ontario," said Minister Caplan. "The Toronto Rehab project is part of the government's five-year $30 billion-plus infrastructure investment plan which represents the biggest investment in health care infrastructure in more than a generation."

Once completed, Toronto Rehab's University Centre will be a modern hospital with facilities specifically designed to accommodate the health care needs of adults undergoing rehabilitation for serious injury and illness including stroke, brain injury, multiple trauma and cancer. The redevelopment project will also make way for Toronto Rehab's new iDAPT (Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology) research initiative and the creation of one of the most advanced rehabilitation research facilities in the world. Toronto Rehab's iDAPT facilities will significantly change the landscape of rehabilitation research in Canada and beyond.

"This is an important step forward in the continuing evolution of Toronto Rehab," said Mark Rochon, President and CEO of Toronto Rehab. "This will be one of the most advanced rehabilitation hospitals in the province, and one that is better able to meet the needs of those who require our specialized rehabilitation services as well as our ground-breaking research and innovative education programs."

Toronto Rehab is at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today - rehabilitation sciences. As a fully affiliated teaching and research hospital of the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab is Canada's largest academic provider of adult rehabilitation services, complex continuing care and long-term care. Toronto Rehab is advancing rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research and education.

The last day for pre-qualified building teams to submit bids to build and finance Toronto Rehab's capital redevelopment project was April 23, 2008. A successful bidder is expected to be named in summer 2008 with construction beginning shortly thereafter.

Infrastructure Ontario is working with Toronto Rehab and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to redevelop the hospital, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to managing some of the province's larger and more complex infrastructure renewal projects - ensuring they are built on time and on budget.

This project is guided by principles outlined in the Province's Building a Better Tomorrow framework, which ensures public ownership of core assets such as hospitals, schools, and water and wastewater facilities.

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