Hospital’s Cardiovascular Surgery Project Celebrates Move to Next Stage

Representatives from Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation joined Kevin Holland, Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, to share details of the next stage of the Cardiovascular Surgery Project.

When complete, the updated Cardiovascular Surgery space will feature a cardiac operating room (OR) for open heart surgery, a hybrid OR with imaging equipment for minimally invasive cardiac and vascular procedures, a 14-bed Cardiovascular Surgery Unit, and a six-bed Coronary Care Unit.

“This is what progress looks like,” said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, President and CEO, TBRHSC and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. “With the support of the Ontario government, we continue to progress towards our goal of providing a full cardiovascular surgery program at our Hospital for the people we serve across Northwestern Ontario.”

In August 2021, the provincial government announced $5.2 million in funding to support the planning and design of the Hospital’s new Cardiovascular Surgery Project. The Project is a partnership between TBRHSC and Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at University Health Network (UHN) and employs a ‘one program, two sites’ model of care, which will deliver comprehensive cardiovascular care to the people of Northwestern Ontario. The corridor of services created will ensure the highest standard of care to all cardiovascular patients, whether requiring routine or complex interventions.

Shortly after, the Project received Stage 2 “Functional Program” approval. This included a detailed description of the programs to be delivered, the workload and staffing associated with the programs and major equipment and space requirements.

With the latest approval, the Hospital is able to proceed to Stage 3.1, which will be done jointly with TBRHSC and UHN. Requirements for this stage include preliminary design of the space and detailed mechanical, electrical, fixture, furniture and equipment needs. The clinical program and design development teams are working diligently to meet the November deadline for Stage 3.1 (of five stages).

“The capital planning process is lengthy, but we look forward to reaching our goal and providing life saving treatment within our community,” said TBRHSC Board Chair Gord Wickham. “Investments like this one, in our people and environment, take a lot of time and planning, but will ensure our patients have access to the highest quality of cardiovascular care in spaces that support innovation and are closer to home.”

Special thanks goes out to the generous donors in our community who designate their donations directly to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Cardiovascular Surgery campaign, which will be instrumental in bringing cardiovascular surgery to TBRHSC.

“We are excited to be celebrating today, along with the Hospital and Ontario Government, indicating their further commitment to the Cardiovascular surgery project,” said Dan Topatigh, Vice-Chair of the Our Hearts at Home Campaign Cabinet. “We all look forward to the day when cardiac surgery is performed here, at home, in Northwestern Ontario.”

As part of today’s event, a sign has been erected on site at TBRHSC relaying the province’s commitment to bringing cardiovascular surgery services to the region.

To learn more about TBRHSC’s Cardiovascular Surgery Project, please visit