TORONTO -- Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is a new hospital getting ready for an unexpected opening.

On Sunday, the hospital will welcome 12 intensive care patients from Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, along with 30 others to its general internal medicine beds.

The move comes as way to help address the surge of COVID-19 patients and capacity issues in hard hit areas in the Greater Toronto Area.

“About 3 weeks ago, we started the projections with respect to critical care in particular and started to understand that the province was going to need upwards of 500 critical care beds,” said President and CEO of Mackenzie Health Altaf Stationwala.

Tuesday, intensive care patients from other parts of the GTA will start being transferred. The hospital has 35 ICU beds and 150 general internal medicine beds.

As the hospital was getting ready to welcome patients to its emergency room and other departments, it worked with the province to find a way to help alleviate stress in the health care system.

On Thursday CTV News Toronto was given a tour of the facility and taken into the ICU.

Stationwala showed off its single bedrooms, rooms with natural light and ventilations system to manage rooms or wards depending on the infection.

“Positive or negative air pressure depending on the kind of the virus that we are trying to manage, droplet pot airborne so it just gives us better flexibility in managing the types of patients and obviously in a COVID environment even more so,” he said.

The hospital said it is the first smart hospital in Canada. Some of the high tech gadgets include a Real-Time Locating system, and plenty of gadgets.

When “Code blue” is activated for cardiac patients it sends information health care workers’ phones. Machines know if hands have been sanitized or not.

Leading up to the opening, the team has been training staff, checking workflows and systems to make everything is good to go.

“These are the most vulnerable patients that we will have to provide that world class health care,” said Gail Chapeskie, Manager of the Critical Care and Respiratory Therapy Department. “Very excited. This is a once in a life-time opportunity.”


“I feel honoured and proud and I’m just amazed at our team,” said Altaf Stationwala. “We turned this hospital upside down, changed the focus and redeployed staff.”


Stationwala said planning for Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital as been in the works for a decade, with construction starting four-and-a-half years ago.

There is no immediate timeline for when the hospital’s emergency room departments and other units will open.