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Premier Ford officially opens new Markdale Hospital

More than 20 years in the making, the new Markdale Hospital has officially opened and will welcome patients on Sept. 24

Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the trip to rural Grey County today to cut the ribbon and officially open the new Markdale Hospital.

Ford was accompanied by Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones for the ceremony held at the new hospital in Markdale on Sept. 14. They were joined by Brightshores Health Systems officials, members of the hospital foundation, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Rick Byers, Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen and others for the special event.

“This is just amazing. It takes a community to build a hospital,” Ford said. “I’m thrilled to be back here in Grey County. It is great to celebrate the grand opening of Markdale Hospital.”

The new $70 million hospital facility has been more than 20 years in the making. The facility is located just off of Highway 10 behind the Grey Gables complex. The new hospital will officially begin operating on Sept. 24, with the emergency room set to open that day at 6 a.m.

Ford and Jones were greeted by about 100 citizens protesting the recent Greenbelt scandal. The protesters stayed clear of the hospital property and quietly protested in front of Grey Gables along the highway. Neither Ford nor Jones acknowledged the protesters. 

“You’re getting it done here in Markdale,” said Jones. “This building absolutely will make a difference. Congratulations to everyone who made this dream a reality here.”

Gary Sims, president and CEO of Brightshores Health Systems, thanked the Premier for his efforts in getting the new hospital across the finish line and he praised the local community for their commitment to the project.

“I know for many it has been two decades of hard work,” said Sims. “What a beautiful building. We’re super happy to have the facility.”

Byers said it was a proud day for the entire community.

“It’s a magnificent building. It’s state of the art. It will be a fantastic addition to the community,” he said. “The community has been hugely supportive for a long, long time. It’s a remarkable example of the community supporting the project.”

Byers also praised his predecessor as MPP, Bill Walker, for his many years of advocacy for the project.

Walker was on hand for the ceremony and participated in the ribbon cutting.

“From the day I was elected, this was one of the priorities,” he said. “It’s a great day for the community. I think this will become a model for the province.”

Harvey Fraser, Centre Grey Health Services Foundation board chair, said the community fundraising for the project exceeded $12 million. He said that part of the hospital project was incredibly important since the provincial government pays for 90 per cent of the bricks and mortar building, but 100 per cent of the furnishings and equipment must be covered by the local community.

“Everything inside here was paid for by the community,” said Fraser. “Without the community, we would have 90 per cent of an empty building.”

McQueen said the project took many years and was worth the effort.

“The community didn’t give up. We had a strong foundation and kept working and working and working and made it happen,” said the mayor. “What a fantastic facility. It’s just unbelievable.”

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About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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