After years of study and debate, and threats to leave, the Shriners are committing to build a new hospital in Montreal.

Details of the project were unveiled to the public Thursday morning after being worked out last week at the Shriners International meeting.

The new hospital will be constructed in the Glen Yards, adjacent to the MUHC superhospital, over the next four years.

Almost twice as large as the current building on Cedar Ave., it will have 22 single-patient rooms dedicated to children, take up 173,000 sq. ft, and have a much larger research centre.

The new Shriners hospital will also have four operating rooms.

They are so fortunate. It will be amazing.


For patients like Natalie Cinman, who has been going to the Shriners since she was three months old, news of the construction is great.

"I'm excited seeing the plans. I'm so excited for the future of the children," said Cinman. "They are so fortunate. It will be amazing."

Cinman, who is getting married later this year, credits much of her success in life to the work done on bone disease by the Shriners.

"I might be here, but I wouldn't be in the strong state that I am.

It's going to have the best in technology that we have available.


The Shriners are very proud that construction is going ahead.

"It's going to have the best in technology that we have available, in the whole country, the whole world as a matter of fact," said Ralph Semb of Shriners International.

The existing Montreal building is 85 years old, and the Shriners have been wanting to move for some time.

One issue has been securing the funding to build a new hospital.

"There were money issues obviously," said Semb. "We have to make sure we're doing the right thing."

To build the hospital, the Shriners will be asking for community donations to make up a funding shortfall.

"We've never actually had to have a mortgage on any of our properties," said Semb. "We're going to look for about $23 million from the community here."

When McGill announced its superhospital project, the Shriners wanted to be on board, but five years ago, when the project was stalled, Shriners in London, Ontario wanted to move the hospital there.

"Now we have a great partnership and we're looking forward to working with McGill," Semb said.