January 14 2011 view of 90 Gerrard Street West. Originally a residence for nursing students, in recent years the building housed The Residence College Hotel.
Dormitory demolition: Toronto’s downtown hospital district will be getting another new building in the near future — a “state-of-the-art” lecture hall — once a tower that occupies the proposed 90 Gerrard Street West location has been demolished.
The University Health Network (UHN), which operates three downtown hospitals — Toronto Western on Bathurst Street, Princess Margaret on University Avenue and Toronto General on Elizabeth Street — once had a large lecture theatre at Toronto General. However, that facility was lost several years ago when the MaRS Centre was constructed at Toronto General along College Street. UHN has been languishing without an appropriate lecture centre ever since, but is now taking steps to remedy the situation by building an ultra-modern UHN Lecture Hall at the northeast corner of Elizabeth Street and Gerrard Street West.
The mid-rise, 19-storey concrete and glass building currently on the site is now being prepared for demolition. Originally constructed as a residence for nursing students, the building was recently known as The Residence College Hotel, which offered budget accommodations to hospital patients and other Toronto visitors.
In a newsletter announcement to staff last April, UHN president Bob Bell said UHN had applied to the city for a permit to demolish The Residence and replace it with the new lecture hall as well as green space. The city issued the demolition permit on June 1. The building’s windows subsequently were covered from the inside, while fencing and hoarding was installed on the outside of the property, so crews could prepare the structure for demolition.
The UHN Lecture Hall is being designed by Toronto’s Diamond + Schmitt Architects, which also designed the SickKids Research and Learning Tower that I profiled in TheTorontoBlog last week. So far, UHN has not made public any proposed designs for the new building. The lecture hall project is the fourth major building initiative currently underway in the hospital district. Besides the SickKids tower, there is ongoing building activity at nearby Mt. Sinai Hospital, where several new floors have been added to the top of the hospital, and at Toronto Rehab, where work is continuing on addition to that facility. Below are several photos taken last Friday of 90 Gerrard Street West.