View across park of Bell Gateway Building
Various streetscapes of Phase 1B
Interior of patient therapy space
Interior of patient therapy space
View across street of Phase 1A buildings
View from Queen Street of Phase 1A
Interior public spaces looking into courtyard

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: Phase 1A+1B

Project Details

1001 Queen Street West, Toronto

Completed, 2012

Infrastructure Ontario

Gross Sq. Ft.
536,969 sq. ft.

Tom Arban

Behavioral Healthcare – Award of Merit | 2014, International Academy of Design and Health for Mental Health Design | 2009, Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award – Honorable Mention | 2005

Project Team
Jonathan Kearns, Peter Ng, Heather Button, Tan Duong, Dan McNeil

A joint venture with
Phase 1A: C3 (MSA, KPMB) | Phase1B: C3 (MSA, KPMB) + Cannon Design as PDC Architect

LEED® Gold Certified

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) project is a multi-year campus redevelopment, based on a master plan developed by Kearns Mancini and its joint venture partners. The project has resulted in a radical transformation of how mental healthcare is delivered in an urban setting. The project design was based on three principles which guided the urban design and built space approach; Integration, Normalization and Adaptability. These principles were primarily implemented as a means to integrate the proposed buildings into the fabric of the city, as well as to create a streetscape that allowed for both community engagement and anonymity. In addition, the master plan allows for programmatic adaptability of the proposed buildings in the future.


In 2000, Kearns Mancini invited two Toronto firms to form a team - a Community Care Consortium (C3) for the design competition of the CAMH campus in downtown Toronto. This C3 consortium won the competition primarily because of the close attention paid to the needs and requirements of CAMH - in particular its desire to minimize the stigma associated with mental illness, and to build a hospital campus that would also function as a new urban neighbourhood.

Through consultation with CAMH, the design consortium devised Phase1A as an Alternative Milieu program in the form of three recognizable residential buildings, linked to a commercial office-style building. Each building block contains 24 patient rooms with six en-suite bedrooms on each of the four floors, forming an L-shaped building plan around a landscaped courtyard. Each floor functions as an 'apartment,' with six patients sharing kitchen, dining and living spaces.

Phase 1B of CAMH's redevelopment comprises three large buildings, one of which is designed to accommodate acute care patients in a six storey L-plan building, with a secure internal courtyard and second floor terrace. The denser building form is determined by the urban context and the overriding master plan concept that all new CAMH buildings be well-integrated elements of the community's existing built environment, with respect to scale, program and massing.


Axonometric view of Phase 1A+1B

Axonometric view of completed phasing


Kearns Mancini is dedicated to a collaborative approach, focusing on methods that fully engage each client as integral contributors to the design process.

Throughout the design process, in consultation with the client, Kearns Mancini sought to ensure a safe, secure environment would be created. This would be implemented without separating or isolating patients, visitors or employees of CAMH from the community in which it resides, in an effort to distance the institution from the stigma attached to monolithic, purpose-built asylums in secluded parks. This is achieved through the introduction of market housing in mixed-use structures throughout the campus.

Phase 1B comprised an ambitious phase of implementation to this design approach, which saw the construction of a psycho-geriatric unit, secure youth unit, the main food distribution services and Campus’ house-keeping services. This phase also included the construction of the general administration centre, IT department and main out-patient clinic within three urban mid-rise buildings in which inpatient floors are divided into patient and non-patient zones. Separating programmatic zones allows patients a sense of place and feeling of home; nurses and doctors entering into the patient zone are received as guests providing care. A market housing mixed-use building was also built during this phase, which includes apartments allotted for outpatients.

Access to natural light and views to the outdoors allows patients a sense of place and a feeling of home.

View of Bell Gateway Building

View of streetscape


The redevelopment of the CAMH campus - through community integration - aimed to eliminate the stigma related to mental illness.

The CAMH campus re-design has delivered on the Master Plan intent; the massing and scale of buildings are sympathetic to the best qualities of the existing Victorian context of Queen Street West.

New streets cut through the site and provide connections to the city, while maintaining a safe outdoor environment within the complex for patients and visitors alike. These facilities represent an innovative commitment to providing nurturing care in an urban environment and creating a healthcare program with a uniquely progressive identity.

Kearns Mancini brought its extensive health care experience into each phase of the project. Overall, the project delivers on CAMH's intent to step away from earlier approaches to mental health care conventions, and toward an approach that treats patients in a respectful, dignified, holistic manner that normalizes mental health care.

These facilities represent an innovative commitment to providing nurturing care in an urban environment.

Elevation and Section through site


International Academy of Design and Health for Mental Health Design
Healthcare Design Project Academy Award | 2009

Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Award
Honorable Mention | 2005

Behavioral Healthcare, Design Showcase
Award of Merit | 2014

Media Coverage

Brick by Brick

John Bentley Mays

Only a few decades ago, says George Baird, architect and dean of architecture at the University of Toronto, architectural theorists firmly believed that “if you get the building right, human behaviour will be transformed."...


New CAMH campus a sign of civic and mental health

Christopher Hume

CAMH has transformed an isolated campus into a new neighbourhood integrated into the West Queen West community, determined to break down the stigma of mental illness.


Rethinking a home away from home

John Bentley Mays

At some point in life, just about everyone spends some time in a dwelling designed for temporary use. It could be a bunkhouse at camp, or a university dormitory, or a resort or business hotel. It might be a hospital room.


Mind Over Matter

With Each Generation, Designing the Optimum Mental Health Care Facility Presents a Unique Set of Challenges. The latest Incarnation of Toronto's Camh Raises Numerous Questions Regarding Ethics, Planning and Development.

The sweeping $382-million re-creation of Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), in progress on the facility's historic site on Queen Street West, is an undertaking at a scale unprecedented in the history of Canadian psychiatric hospitals. But size and complexity are only...



The sense of isolation so many clients have railed against may never completely disappear, but it won’t be because of the buildings; they do their job admirably. Indeed, CAMH’s new streetscapes could serve as an excellent model for modern cities where mid-rise and mixed-use are the order of the day.
Christopher Hume
Toronto Star
Kearns Mancini continued to deliver good results and made especially notable contributions towards an early works package of municipal infrastructure and the municipal approvals process.
David Cunic
CAMH – Vice President, Site Redevelopment

Other Projects

Contact Us

  • 1 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 104
  • Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3E7 Canada
416 536 5666
416 536 8626