Technical Services, Planning and Real Estate Management Department wins Prix d’innovation at the Gala Célébration de l’excellence 2019

Team celebrated for giving the homeless a place to spend the night at the Royal Victoria Legacy Site last winter.

MONTREAL, November 1, 2019 — The Technical Services, Planning and Real Estate Management Department of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) took home the Prix d’Innovation at this year’s Gala Célébration de l’excellence du CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de Montréal. This award was given to the team for creating a temporary overflow unit for the homeless last winter at the Royal Victoria Legacy Site.

“I am very proud of my team, which has collaborated with the City of Montreal, the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île and the Ministry of Health (MSSS)," says Pierre-Marc Legris, Director, Technical Services, Planning and Real Estate Management. “Thanks to their dedication, hard work and kindness, 1,585 homeless people were able to escape the cold at the former Royal Victoria Hospital.”

Stepping up when it matters most

Last December, the MUHC security team was given one month’s notice to transform the Ross Pavillion into a safe space that could accommodate 80 homeless persons per night during a four-month period from January 15, 2019, to April 15, 2019. Compared to other shelters in the city, the unit maintained a high level of acceptance, allowing men and women – and their pets – to stay the night, even while intoxicated.

“We worked extremely hard during the holiday season to make sure the building was safe, and that all emergency situations were considered,” says Marc Normilus, manager, Security and Emergency Measures, at the MUHC. “The key to getting it done as fast as we did was collaboration. Many stakeholders were involved, from the MSSS to the City of Montreal, to community-based groups like the Old Brewery Mission. Upholding a common vision allowed us to transform not just a building, but hundreds of lives.”

Marc Normilus, Sergio Spiezia, Freud Valéry, and Pierre-Étienne Fortier (in absentia) worked extremely hard during last year’s winter holiday season to prepare the former Royal Victoria Hospital.
Marc Normilus, Sergio Spiezia, Freud Valéry, and Pierre-Étienne Fortier (in absentia) worked extremely hard during last year’s winter holiday season to prepare the former Royal Victoria Hospital.

During a time when our city was experiencing a shortage of beds, this collaborative initiative came in clutch – and now, the team is hard at work again to reboot this December.

"As a body responsible for implementing the intersectoral plan on homelessness, we must innovate in order to adapt our services to the changing needs of vulnerable populations," says Julie Grenier, Deputy Director of Partnerships at the CIUSSS Centre-Sud. "In this regard, I would like to commend the work accomplished by all the partners who made this project possible within the context of the measures taken last winter.”

About the McGill University Health Centre

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is one of the world’s foremost academic health facilities. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of its founding hospitals, the MUHC provides exceptional multidisciplinary patient-centric care. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, the MUHC continues to shape the course of adult and pediatric medicine by attracting clinical and research expertise from around the world, assessing the latest in medical technology, and training the next generation of medical professionals. In collaboration with our network partners, we are building a better future for our patients and their families; for our employees, professionals, researchers and students; for our community and above all, for life. www.muhc.ca


For information:
Amanda Vitaro
Communications Agent – Media relations
McGill University Health Centre
438-346-0304 (cell)
514-934-1934 ex. 34319 (office)
[email protected]