Matthew Filipowich/The Medium
Matthew Filipowich/The Medium

A small orchestra of violins and cellos played in the background. Servers dressed in black and white passed around hors doeuvres. Three screens placed around the atrium showcased three-dimensional digital representations of a buildings interior and exterior, and a three-square-foot piece of sod stood at the foot of the stairs along with eleven silver shovels lying against the wall.

Seldom has the CCT atrium looked this lavish. But last Friday, UTM officials met there to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the Health Sciences Complex.

UTM Principal Ian Orchard began the celebration by welcoming those in attendance. The building were building is really about students, said the Principal.

The four-storey Health Sciences Complex will be used primarily as an Academy of Medicine (U of Ts fourth), housing research laboratories and the biomedical communications program. One of only five of its kind in the world, this program is unique in Canada and will grant medical students the opportunity to study side by side with scientists and researchers.

Since the early 1980s, the University of Toronto has trained close to 50% of family physicians in Ontario and 25% of all specialists in Canada.

The group of MDs who will train here in Mississauga will be part of an innovative partnership with the outstanding local health-care providers said Dr. Catharine Whiteside, dean of U of Ts Faculty of Medicine.

Harinder Takhar, MPP for Mississauga-Erindale and the Minister of Government Services, added the project will ensure that our hospitals become teaching hospitals. Well be able to retain some of these doctors.

The Health Sciences Complex became possible thanks to a partnership among the Government of Ontario, UTM, U of Ts Faculty of Medicine, Trillium Health Centre and Credit Valley Hospital. Construction began this summer. The complex was designed by award-winning architect Alar Kongats of Kongats Architects and will cost $37 million, half of which was donated by the provincial government as part of a province-wide initiative to increase the number of physicians in Ontario.

If anybody said to me thered be a medical sciences building here in Mississauga, I would have said keep dreaming! Today we are realizing a team approach, said Mayor Hazel McCallion. The mayor recalled her first event at UTM, which then had only 1,500 students enrolled. It now has almost 12,000 students.

In accordance to UTMs promise to Grow Smart, Grow Green, the Health Sciences Complex will use energy-efficient lighting and rainwater to fill toilets and water its green roof. The building is designed to meet or exceed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design          silver status, an internationally recognized standard in green buildings.

The platform party consisting of the speakers and Michelle DiEmanuele, the president and CEO of Credit Valley Hospital, made their way to officially break ground on the Health Sciences Complex. The group posed, shovels in hand, before Orchard concluded the ceremony.

The Health Science Complex is set to open its doors in the summer of 2011 with its first class of 54 medical students, and expects 216 students at the academy by 2014.