The new Ronald McDonald House Toronto creates a familiar, home-like setting for 81 families – often from small towns or rural communities – in Toronto for medical treatment. It includes familiar features like a communal kitchen, library, fitness studio, school, living rooms, play areas that serve many different people with a wide range of needs and/or physical limitations.
Creating a refuge from the hospital and the city was imperative to the design vision. The scale, cadence and material palette of the house were judiciously selected to complement the Victorian character of the surrounding residential neighbourhood. This modest expression is paired with a highly potent plan. Within the constraints of a tight urban site, the design creates a series of impressive courtyards, each with its own function, to address the street frontages and achieve a sanctuary within the city. Connections with nature, privileged across each of the four levels, yield a true counterpoint to hospital and city. On the ground floor, the school, living room, dining area all offer walk-outs to a courtyard. Above, hallways, lobbies, suites, and social areas benefit from a positive orientation and shallow floor plate, offering ready access to daylight, through ventilation and engaging views outdoors.
With robust environment directives, unyielding emphasis on nature even in an urban setting, ample access to light and air, and a rigorous balance of community and privacy, this building is intended to nurture peace and wellness on a deeper level.