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Building the best hospital for you

Jan 15, 2024

An artist rendering of a patient room at the new hospital, where everyone will have their own room and accessible washroom. A patient is sitting up in bed talking to a visitor, while two physicians are at the patient’s bedside. A large floor to ceiling window in the room provides a clear view outdoors.


The opportunity to design, plan and build a new hospital comes around once in a generation.

When we think about what that means, a great example is that of our very own health-care professionals. The truth is, many of them will spend their entire careers providing care in the same facility, as a project with the size and scope of a new hospital can take 20-30 years from conception to completion. In many communities, close to 100 years can go by before new hospital infrastructure is built.

TOH is seizing this opportunity to reshape the future of health care by delivering a state-of-the-art new campus that prioritizes patient experience, inclusivity and innovation.

A set of seven planning principles form the foundation for the design and development of what will become the largest health-care facility in Eastern Ontario and one of the most modern, accessible and technologically advanced health facilities in Canada. 

“When planning started for the new campus, we wanted to be clear on our objectives and aligned with TOH’s values, mission and vision,” says Karen Stockton, Executive Director of Planning and Development at TOH.  “Our planning principles serve as the framework for the new campus and reflect an ambitious vision for the future that aligns with TOH’s ongoing priorities, demonstrated in the projects we have initiated across all of our campuses. This is how we’re building the best hospital for everyone.” 


New campus development planning principles

Every detail of the new campus is being meticulously designed to support and uphold the highest standards of care in a patient and family-focused environment. 

Spaces throughout the hospital are being designed to enhance comfort, safety and convenience for patients, families and staff. Single patient rooms with private washrooms will reflect the latest standards in infection prevention and control, while maximizing privacy and rest.   

The new hospital is being designed to improve the efficiency of organizational workflow and processes so that staff and physicians can deliver care more consistently, reliably, and safely, while adhering to the highest standards of practice.

The new campus is being designed and built for health, wellness and recovery. Every patient will have their own room, while staff, physicians and students will have dedicated areas to take necessary breaks and recharge.  

The average length of stay at TOH is currently 8.2 days. A growing body of research indicates that the improved privacy and rest that can come with single patient rooms can result in improved patient outcomes and shorter hospital stays.   

Current designs feature large windows throughout the hospital that will provide generous amounts of natural light and views of publicly accessible outdoor green spaces with the intent to connect patients, families and staff to nature and promote a holistic sense of well-being. Research suggests that biophilic design elements that incorporate natural materials and provide access to nature can have profoundly positive effects on the physical and mental health of all visitors. 

Universal accessibility is a fundamental component of the new campus and a priority for TOH. All site plans and designs, including architectural design, wayfinding and the selection of equipment and furniture throughout the campus are reviewed by a third-party accessibility consultant. 

By prioritizing patient access to equitable health care and considering the requirements for all people with a wide range of abilities, the new campus will surpass many of the standards set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). 

The new campus will incorporate best practices of universal accessibility in key areas to create an easy, comfortable experience for all patients, visitors and staff. 

TOH is dedicated to supporting inclusivity at all of its campuses and sites, where all patients, visitors and staff can safely access all facilities and services in a dignified, equitable and inclusive way in which all cultural values are respected without discrimination. The new campus design will reflect and celebrate the cultural diversity of our community and everyone served by TOH.   

TOH is committed to a journey of reconciliation and ensuring First Nation, Inuit and Metis patients and families feel welcome and safe at all TOH campuses and sites.  Our work of reconciliation, which includes informing the design of the new campus, is guided by an Indigenous Peoples Advisory Circle. 

TOH’s world-class care is supported (and driven) by research and innovation.   

With expanded capacity at the new campus, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute will continue to enhance the region’s reputation as a major centre for discovery and innovation. It will also enable TOH to embrace new research mandates while forging new collaborations and partnerships. 

Research spaces at the new campus will be carefully integrated into clinical areas to encourage close collaboration between researchers and clinicians. This means more patients will have access to clinical trials with potential life-changing results. 

The development of all of TOH’s campuses is driven by technology and innovation-based improvements, but the new campus presents a distinct opportunity to integrate smart technology from the initial design phase. A future-proof approach to new campus designs will better ensure adaptability and will make it easier to incorporate emerging technology into patient care as it evolves. 

The new campus will feature integrated learning and collaboration spaces across all environments to serve as teaching platforms for skills training and versatile meeting spaces that welcome partners and the community. 

As a teaching hospital with multiple campuses and sites, TOH will continue to build on its world-class academic program at the new campus; one that fosters ongoing education opportunities where learners are actively integrated and engaged in collaborative efforts within the very spaces where patient care is provided.

Modern sustainability is a leading factor in all design considerations for the new campus and will help create a facility and environment that improves the wellbeing of patients, staff, and visitors.

Employing a hybrid sustainability approach that is fundamentally guided by the health of both people and our planet, the new high-performance hospital building will reduce energy and water demand while using low-carbon fuel sources and renewable energy technology to produce a lower carbon footprint. As part of its sustainability strategy, TOH has partnered with Hydro Ottawa to build an energy efficient central utility plant that will support the new hospital and advance sustainable energy generation in Ottawa.

In addition to an ecologically conscious bird-safe design, the new campus will feature a naturalized landscape with open green spaces, natural habitats and pollinator gardens to connect people to nature and create harmony between the buildings and spaces on site.

Want to learn more about the new campus? Here’s how the largest health infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history will positively impact economic development in our community.