UHN to demolish former nursing residence and build “state of the art” lecture hall in its place


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.






15 thoughts on “UHN to demolish former nursing residence and build “state of the art” lecture hall in its place

  1. justin

    I lived there for 3 semesters when at u of t 10 years ago.. The building definitely had better days, but it was a very convenient location just off of campus. I also remember there being several floors for families who’s children were at sick kids. I find it silly that they would demolish a 19 story tower that had a valuable purpose for many, to replace it with what I imagine will be a low rise lecture hall.

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  3. agathe

    I lived there as well. To learn english, for 3 months by myself at the age of 18. I loved it ! Has it been demolished yet?

  4. barb hart

    I am a very upset by this. my husband had a double lung transplant in 2007 and i stayed here while he was in hospital. i thought it was the perfect place and reasonable rates for families to stay. they should have kept this building for patients waiting and for families to stay during this time before and after surgery. it is the perfect location. you could not get any closer to the hospital and the price was right. I am very sad to see this happen. If only i had the money i would have bought this building and thats what i would have turned it into. it is not cheap to live in toronto waiting on a list for transplant. It is a very stressful time. Most people have other homes to pay for while they are away. thankfully we lived close enough and did not have to relocate but alot have to, especially out of province people. The hospital that most of these people are going to is Toronto General Hospital. Right across the road!!!

    Very upset by this.

  5. Adrian C

    I live in the adjacent building just South of this one. I have had an upper view of this demolition since they started. At this time, they are currently tearing apart the fifth layer of flooring from the top. Its a very slow process though, its only a small group of people working on this project. They are literally chewing apart every platform and wall with a couple jackhammers, blowtorches and a concrete crushing pincer tool. At the rate I’ve been observing I’m going to say that this process will go until the end of 2013 at least. I’m quite surprised to hear that they are replacing this with a low rise lecture hall. I imagined a tall condo would be taking its place since college park is the next block over. Hopefully they have something else in mind in terms of hospital attendants.

  6. Maggie

    I lived here from ’92 -’96 while going to nursing school. Back then nursing students where given priority. We had to sign in & out every time we left or entered the building & had to sign in guests. I guess that goes to the history of the building. It is the perfect location for students. You can walk anywhere & don’t need to pay or rely on TTC. We had so much fun going skating at Nathan Phillips Square, shopping in Kensington Market, movie nights in the lounge, We got the ironing board from the laundry room & put a VCR on it & then hooked the VCR up to the TV, we used to pull our mattress out of our rooms & sit on the floor. Popcorn anyone?
    I lived here again from 2000-‘2004. I was working downtown and living here was the only way I could save money to buy a house.
    Oh, the stories those walls could tell, if only they could talk.
    I hope UHN puts something like this on top of their lecture hall. It will be sadly missed.

    1. NATZ

      During my retina fellowship at St. Michael’s Hospital from 2003 to 2004, I stayed here because of the convenience of walking thru Gerard Street, to Yonge Street, going to Shuter street entrance . I had a lot of fond memories of this place as this was my home for a year. It sad that I saw it again demolished, visiting Toronto again after leaving 9 years ago. I had hope to get pictures of it.

  7. Patricia

    I lived in this residence in 1969-71 when I went to nursing school…It was great…a pool, squash courts, a gym with a stage, a lovely lobby, a sound proof music room with piano, and a library, classrooms and room for the students. Security at the desk, mailboxes and a tunnel to the hospital. I am so sorry to see it go. I went there yesterday to take a photo before the building was demolished..I had see the article about the impending demo. I was shocked and saddened to see the building is gone…it is replaced by a very unattractive monstrosity. The safe and convenient residence for families of patients at TGH and Sick Kids is gone. Ronald McDonald..please help.

  8. Patricia

    A state of the art lecture hall?..there was a lecture hall in the buildling..too bad that no one respects the past.

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  10. Heather Duchene

    In 1964, my mom and I used to visit my sister, while she was in nursing training, I was 10 year old, can’t remember where these apts were, but there was a tunnel underneath that led to a hospital. Can anyone tell me where these apartments might have been? thank you

  11. Stephanie Kinney

    I lived across the street while I went to Sick KIds’s nursing school. I lived at 170 Elizabeth Street, in Elizabeth MacMaster House. It was also a nursing residence and also we had to sign in and out, only fathers allowed once a month on a SUnday afternoon. we had a covered pool , outside pool, we could use in the winter. We also had a stage , tennis courts, tunnel underground to the hospital, quick way to get to classes –in winter!!
    Memories and these cherished buildings GONE forever!!
    It was fabulous to attend nursing schools in those days..I was there from 1971-1973–when I graduated! Miss the old buildings..and all the wonderful people who lived in them!

  12. Clayton

    I lived there from late 2000 -2003 on the 4th floor while going to school and transitioning to work. I experienced September 11 there, being woken up to office workers watching the live news from my floor’s common room TV. Pretty surreal considering what was happening and that I had never seen these people before. I also experienced the events of SARS there too and watched as the hospitals were all on high alert. Strange considering how the last few years played out.

    With all this said, I met lots of awesome people there. Many from all over the world coming in to do their residency at one of the hospitals. There were many others also: some enrolled at Ryerson and others going to other smaller schools. There were some strange people and some very interesting ones also.

    I definitely look back at it with fond memories. It’s sad to see it gone.


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