MONTREAL - After years of delays and uncertainty, ground was broken Thursday at the new Shriners Hospital site.
The $127-million project, completely funded by the Shriners, will be built next to the future site of the MUHC's superhospital, currently under construction at the Glen Yards in Notre-Dame-de-Grace.
"In a nutshell, this is an opportunity to enhance pediatric care for generations to come," said MUHC CEO Dr. Arthur Porter. "I believe that we are now able to be world class – second to none anywhere."
The new state-of-the-art facility will be twice the size of the current hospital, and include 22 single-patient rooms, research facilities will be doubled to 2,700 square metres and 1,200 square metres will be dedicated to rehabilitation services.
The Shriners considered moving their hospital to London, Ontario, after talks on the MUHC's new hospital stalled a decade ago.
"The deed is signed, the Shriners are here," said Doug Maxwell, past imperial potentate for the Shriners.
Moving the Shriners Cedar Ave. facility, which was built in 1925, was an important move, said Quebec Premier Jean Charest, on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony.
"I want to say for all the Shriners across the world our gratitude for having made this decision. Thank you very much," he said.
Former patients like Luca Patuelli, who underwent years of therapy at the Shiner's Hospital after he was born with arthrogryposis, a rare muscular disorder, said the new hospital is monumental.
"This is going to give children and families hope," he said.
Construction begins in spring 2013 and the hospital is slated to open in summer 2015.