Downtown Toronto hospital removes bars aimed at keeping homeless people away - architecture and design

Downtown Toronto hospital removes bars aimed at keeping homeless people away



A health organization that runs several hospitals in Toronto has apologized for installing bars over a vent outside a downtown emergency department to deter homeless people from sleeping there.
The University Health Network said the bars were installed because the area outside Toronto General Hospital sees significant traffic from cars and ambulances, and because of safety concerns about garbage and needles found in the area.
Now removed, bars covering the grate were widely considered a textbook example of defensive architecture. Photo by Janna MacLachlan via Twitter.
But in trying to solve that problem, the organization said it created the impression that it was not concerned about the needs of the homeless. It has since removed the bars.
“I have learned over a long career that when you make a mistake, you step forward, own it and then move on,” Dr. Charlie Chan, University Health Network’s interim president and CEO, said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Given our responsibility to provide compassionate care, it has indeed been seen as hostile and not something a hospital should be doing, given the care we provide to everyone who comes through our doors.”
Chan noted that those working at the University Health Network are “kind, compassionate and provide daily care for people who don’t have a home.”
The UHN runs Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, as well as five rehab clinics.
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