SickKids opens state-of-the-art
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has announced the opening of
The Mitchell Goldhar Cardiac Diagnostic & Interventional Unit.
The facility will enable Canada’s largest paediatric interventional
catheterization program to develop new innovations in minimally invasive
alternatives to open-heart surgery.
The Goldhar unit combines the latest technology to diagnose and treat
children with congenital heart disease using minimally invasive
procedures that can reduce or eliminate the need for open-heart surgery.
The 18,000 square-foot facility includes two new catheterization labs
with state-of-the-art equipment, an integrated magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) machine and a post-anaesthetic recovery area for patients.
Designed with children in mind, the unit’s outer space theme provides a
fun and stress-free environment in waiting areas, corridors and
Built-in lava lamps, an interactive “asteroid”, as well as colorful
lights and wall decorations are designed to distract patients from
“The new unit allows us to explore new minimally invasive treatments
that put less strain on children with cardiac conditions,” says Dr. Lee
Benson, director of The Mitchell Goldhar Cardiac Diagnostic &
Interventional Unit. “Ultimately, we want to improve the quality of care
and life for children with heart disease, and [new] unit will help us
achieve our goal.”
The establishment of facility was made possible with $23 million in
combined funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and from
a committed group of donors to SickKids Foundation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided $7.2 million. The
unit received funding from private donors totaling $15.8 million. A gift
of $3 million from Mitchell Goldhar, owner and CEO of SmartCentres,
completed the private funding commitment to the unit.
Other major donors to the unit with gifts of more than $1 million or
more included: Gary Slaight and Standard Broadcasting Corporation and
their listeners, Ruth and Douglas Grant, David and Judy Galloway,
Jennifer Ivey Bannock and the Richard Ivey Foundation.
“People don’t associate heart disease with young children,” said
Mitchell Goldhar, owner and CEO of SmartCentres. “But children of all
ages do have heart problems, some from the time they are born. It was
important for me to invest in an area that I knew would have lasting
impact. As far as I am concerned, SickKids is the best place in the
world to improve a child’s outcome for a better quality of life and a
Every detail in the unit has been designed to provide a distracting and
entertaining environment for children. The entrance to the unit sets the
stage for a child’s journey through outer space. Patients will first
encounter a large “asteroid” that symbolizes a real meteorite that
landed on earth over 5,800 years ago. Funded by the Women’s Auxiliary of
The Hospital for Sick Children, the asteroid has many hidden features
and stories that children will want to explore on each visit to the
unit. The patient reception area also features a virtual interactive
game, computer kiosks and a wall of lava lamps that will entertain both
children and their families.
The Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids is already home to the
largest paediatric interventional catheterization program in Canada and
continues to be a leader in Ontario for innovative procedures to treat
complex cardiac conditions in children. It conducts approximately 90
percent of cardiac catheterization procedures for Ontario children, with
1,000 catheterizations performed last year. Approximately half of these
procedures are interventional, while the remaining half include
diagnostic, electrophysiological, ablation and pacemaker-related
SickKids Foundation was established in 1972 and is celebrating its
35-year anniversary. Its mission is to inspire our communities to invest
in health and scientific advances to improve the lives of children and
their families in Canada and around the world. Its vision: Healthier
children. A better world. The Foundation is the largest non-governmental
granting agency in the area of child health in Canada.
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the
University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and
the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the
country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of
children by integrating care, research and teaching. Its mission is to
provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific
and clinical advancements, sharing knowledge and expertise and
championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and
sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit