Toronto (March 30, 2010) – The Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, joined hospital officials and employees to celebrate the "topping-off" of the new 13-storey patient care and research tower at Toronto Rehab's University Centre. A "topping off" ceremony is a tradition on building sites, signifying that the highest point of a building has been reached.

A ceremonial roof top concrete pour took place along with a signing of the last construction beam. And as the ancient Scandinavians did to appease the tree-dwelling spirits that had been displaced during construction of their buildings, evergreen sprigs were given to guests to be replanted in their own gardens.

The first year and a half of construction included many noteworthy accomplishments:

  • Construction is now almost 50 per cent complete;
  • Since the start of construction, there has been a daily average of 175 construction workers on site at any one time;
  • 18,000 cubic metres of earth has been excavated from the site – equivalent to digging 250 family-sized swimming pools;
  • 12,000 cubic metres of concrete has been poured – enough to lay sidewalk from Toronto Rehab's University Centre to Toronto's waterfront; and
  • 1,600 tonnes of rebar has gone into the new tower – enough to build more than 1,400 cars.

Over the course of construction, approximately $39.7 million will be paid in construction salaries and $44 million worth of materials will be purchased locally.

Toronto Rehab's University Centre capital redevelopment project 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.

The redevelopment will provide facilities designed specifically for adults undergoing rehabilitation for serious injury and illness. The project will also accommodate Toronto Rehab's new iDAPT (Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology) research facility - one of the world's most advanced rehabilitation facilities.

"Reaching this stage of construction is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work from everyone at Toronto Rehab and in this community," said the Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "When complete, this redeveloped hospital will offer patients improved access to enhanced rehabilitative care."

Toronto Rehab's president and CEO, Mark Rochon, shared the minister's excitement. "Today's celebration marks a significant milestone in the redevelopment of University Centre and brings us closer to the completion of our new state-of-the art facility that will allow us to take a leap forward in how we deliver rehabilitation care to our patients."

The next step in construction is to "close in" the facility, allowing mechanical, electrical, drywall work and interior finishes to proceed during the coming months.

Construction began in December 2008 and will be completed in December 2011. Aecon Buildings, a division of Aecon Group Inc., is building the new facilities.

When complete, the total investment into rehabilitation care and research at University Centre is expected to exceed $180 million. This includes the construction contract with Aecon as well as costs associated with equipment, furniture, permits, architectural and engineering fees and costs associated with the demolition of the old wing.

Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are working with Toronto Rehab to redevelop the facility, 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.

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