Workmen’s Compensation Board Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre

115 Torbarrie Road, Toronto, ON.

“…Planned as far as possible on one level to facilitate the movement of the patients, who are workmen injured in industrial accidents. The plan encourages walking, which is part of the cure, and the occupational therapy wing has a deliberately industrial atmosphere. Structure is steel for single-storey wings, and reinforced concrete for higher blocks for 500 patients.”

-J.M. Richards, “New Buildings in the Commonwealth,” 1961

Also known as the Downsview Hospital, the healthcare campus for the rehabilitation of injured workers was a major work of architect Peter Dickinson in collaboration with Thomas R. Wiley.  It featured a comprehensive, designed landscape by the firm of Dunington-Grubb and Stensson.

The complex was an eventual outcome of the Roach Report on the Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1950, in which William Daniel Roach examined “scales of compensation, payment of claims, industrial diseases, assessments, appeals, accident prevention, merit rating, rehabilitation, investments, and composition of the Board.”

The Workmen’s Compensation Board Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre was situated on a greenfield site of seven hectares, near the interchange of two of Ontario’s major highways, the 400 and the 401, just several years after its completion.

The 14 buildings were arranged in a rectilinear layout around three outdoor spaces: Pool Court, Hospital Court and Nurses’ Court.  The buildings, many of which were interconnected, formed a unified ensemble characterized by their horizontal emphasis, flat roofs, red brick, and metal sash windows. Narrow floor plates offered abundant natural light and views to the landscape.

The project garnered a silver Massey Medal in 1958, and subsequently was among 40 Canadian buildings featured in “New Buildings in the Commonwealth,” authored by J.M. Richards.