The McCaul Street House has kept families together for a decade in downtown Toronto.
November 15, 2011, was a momentous day in RMHC Toronto’s 40-year history. That’s when the doors to the Chapter’s new House opened at 240 McCaul Street – making it the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world at the time. Over the past decade, the McCaul Street House has established a legacy of providing a warm, welcoming, and homelike environment for families travelling from around the world to stay close to their seriously ill child in the hospital.
Before this House was built, it was easy to see that there was a need for RMHC Toronto to accommodate more families. The previous House on Gerrard Street accommodated 28 families and was constantly at full capacity, with a turn-away rate as high as 70 per cent.
Expanding to 100,000 square feet with 81 bedrooms has made it possible for RMHC Toronto to serve more than 6,400 additional families over the last 10 years. That is the equivalent of 53 additional families each night over the previous House on Gerrard Street.
The House at 240 McCaul Street was designed by Montgomery Sisam Architects, the same architects behind various iconic Toronto buildings, including the Granite Club, the Bridgepoint Health Redevelopment, and the Toronto Botanical Gardens. RMHC Toronto wanted to build a House that would foster a sense of community, and help create feelings of comfort and serenity, and Montgomery Sisam Architects brought this vision to life.
When you stroll throughout the House, you may notice a few of the thoughtful features and architectural elements including some clear family favourites:
- Every bedroom has a chalkboard beside the door, giving families a creative outlet to share their journey and leave messages for others.
- There are large windows facing every direction, exposing families to natural light to help alleviate anxiety. This also creates a clear view of the other family bedrooms, so families are reminded they are never alone despite being away from home.
- And every floor has a view of the CN Tower – an iconic and welcoming symbol of Toronto – helping to acclimatize and ground families in their new surroundings.
The rooms and amenities in the House were built to help ensure families wouldn’t need to spend much time out in the public. Almost a decade later, this has proven to be extremely important, as the pandemic has created more risks to children who are immunocompromised.
The House is equipped with a large kitchen, a laundry room, outdoor space in the Tranquility Garden and Courtyard, and an on-site School available for patients and siblings. Just like a traditional home, the shared spaces are located on the main floor and basement, and the family bedrooms are located on the second, third, and fourth floors.
The 10th anniversary of the McCaul House coincides with the 40th anniversary of RMHC Toronto. The first House at 365 Dundas Street West opened its doors to families in June 1981, making it the first Ronald McDonald House in Canada.
“Thank you to our incredible community of alumni families, volunteers, donors, staff, long-time partners, and many others for their support. Celebrating these milestones is a great way to recognize how far we have come together and motivates us to continue our efforts to support even more families,” says Catherine Bridgman, CEO of RMHC Toronto.
Special thanks to our generous donors for supporting the building of the McCaul Street House.
Read more about our House.