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Thunder Bay Regional

Health Sciences Centre

Thunder Bay, Ontario

This hospital was created as a symbol of regional revival and the unification of two 100-year old hospitals. The intent was to set new standards for the delivery of acute care that would serve a population across a geographical area the size of France.  

One of the design goals was to attract staff to this far northern location by celebrating the distinctive culture and heritage of the region. This was achieved through the extensive use of wood as a structural material in dramatic spaces that are flooded with natural light.

Farrow's planning and design process brought people together to create a source of civic pride and cultural meaning. The striking design reflects local roots in the lumber industry and the structures of historic railway connections. After  extensive consultation with fire and municipal officials, this hospital was the first to use of heavy timber in a Canadian institutional setting.   
TBRHSC is the first cancer centre in Canada to incorporate direct natural light skylights within the cancer radiation treatment rooms. It is one of the first new hospitals in Ontario to incorporate passive solar energy and environmental design solutions. The wooden concourse provides daily functional space for 95% of users at only 1½% of total building area.

Staff recruitment ads for TBRHSC have stated that this is an “architectural showpiece situated on a landscaped site of nearly 70 acres…is a stunning award-winning design that is functionally efficient.”

In addtion to being acclaimed internationally as benchmark for progressive human-centric hospital design, this project has been recognized as one of the most technically advanced facilities in the world.

This 650,000 square foot, 375-bed acute care regional hospital includes acute care services, forensic mental health, a helicopter pad and base hospital facilities to serve all of North Western Ontario. The complex includes the 68,000 square Regional Cancer Centre - Northwest.

Architect of Record: Salter Farrow Pilon Architects Inc., of which Farrow is a successor firm.