History of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Foundation

From our humble beginnings in 1874, Toronto Rehab has helped develop solutions for people living with the consequences of illness, injury, and aging through excellence, innovation and integration of discovery and care.
  • 2019
    KITE at UHN

    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Research is united to create a new Institute at UHN  called KITE (Knowledge Innovation Talent Everywhere).

  • 2017
    Guinness World Record

    Over 300 spin-cycling participants Rocketed us to a Guinness World Record for the most money raised in a static cycling event at Rocket Ride 4 Rehab on October 14th


    The most advanced driving simulator in Canada and unique in the world, Toronto Rehab’s DriverLab research program is unveiled that will study drivers to help reduce the emotional, physical, and financial costs of vehicle collisions, by reducing their occurrence


    Founded on the ACCELERATION pan-Canadian clinical research study that addressed health behaviours known to contribute to 70% of all chronic diseases, an e-health solution is announced in partnership with Medavie that will provide the necessary health information and support for at-risk Canadians to take control of their health

    The Walter and Maria Schroeder Brain Institute

    Unprecedented $20-million gift from the Schroeder family will allow Toronto Rehab to build a collaborative group of multi-disciplinary experts in engineering and the clinical neurosciences, to develop new therapies for brain-related disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and Parkinson's

  • 2016

    To keep Canadians safer in winter, a team of Toronto Rehab researchers working in our WinterLab unveil evidence-based ratings on footwear that may reduce the risk of slips and falls on ice

    Diabetes College

    $1-million commitment launches the Sun Life Financial Diabetes College; an online, interactive resource for people who have been identified as having diabetes or prediabetes

  • 2015
    Toronto Rehab Chair in Cardiac Rehabilitation

    Dr. David Alter named to new chair established through proceeds of Toronto Rehab Foundation’s On Track to Cardiac Recovery annual fundraising walk

    Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic

    Inaugural Rocket Ride 4 Rehab supports ground-breaking new Clinic that is designed to directly connect new research discoveries to patient care in order to greatly benefit individuals who live with neurological impairment after a stroke

    Hull-Ellis Concussion & Research Clinic

    New Clinic opens that was established through proceeds from the TWIINS event on October 1, 2014 in honour of Ron Ellis and Dennis Hull

    $100-million Campaign Launched

    Toronto Rehab announces its ranking as the top rehabilitation research centre in the world at the public launch of the Where Incredible Happens fundraising campaign on October 26th

  • 2014

    Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life (AGE-WELL) launched from Toronto Rehab as its host institution as part of the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program

    Cardiac College

    World-first education program launched that assembles best practices and a patient-centred curriculum so that patients and healthcare providers can access trusted and research verified information on cardiovascular disease

  • 2013
    University Centre Redevelopment Project Complete

    Hillcrest Centre's Musculoskeletal (MSK) program staff and patients permanently move to Toronto Rehab's University Centre location at 550 University Avenue.

    Clifford Nordal Chair in Sleep Apnea and Rehabilitation Research

    Dr. Douglas Bradley named the inaugural incumbent to this chair founded by Toronto Rehab Foundation donors.

  • 2011
    Joined the University Health Network

    On July 1, 2011, Toronto Rehab officially became part of University Health Network (UHN), joining the Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Toronto General Hospital.


    iDAPT Centre for Rehabilitation Research unveiled on November 16, 2011. The Challenging Environment Assessment Laboratory (CEAL) features the world’s first hydraulic motion simulator that can mimic everyday environmental challenges faced by older people and those with disabling injury or illness.

  • 2010
    Named Stroke Rehab Program of Distinction

    Accreditation Canada named our program a Stroke Rehab Program of Distinction in 2010. We were one of the first in the country to receive this award, which recognizes outstanding commitment to excellence and leadership.

    Welcomed first patients to new University Centre wing

    In February, 2010, Toronto Rehab welcomed the first patients to our new patient care and research wing at University Centre. The next phase of patient and staff migration began in the winter of 2012.

  • 2008
    New Hand Hygiene Technology Created

    Toronto Rehab researchers developed new hand hygiene technology to help professional caregivers reduce hospital-acquired infection rates and provide safer care for patients.

    Renovation at Bickle Centre Started

    An extensive renovation of the E.W. Bickle Centre for Complex Continuing Care started as part of an ambitious, multi-million dollar redevelopment plan. It will enhance patient safety and significantly improve the quality of life for patients.

    Construction Starts at University Centre

    The keystone of an ambitious, multi-million dollar redevelopment plan, Toronto Rehab’s University Centre's expansion and enhancements are designed to facilitate better patient outcomes and to create iDAPT, the world's most advanced rehabilitation research facility.

    Heart Health for Life Heart

    Health for Life presented by Scotiabank officially launches Toronto Rehab’s cardiac alumni program.

  • 2007
    Major Renovations Completed at Lyndhurst Centre

    Toronto Rehab completed major renovations at Lyndhurst Centre, as part of an ambitious multi-million dollar redevelopment plan.

    First FICCDAT Conference Hosted

    Toronto Rehab co-hosted with March of Dimes Canada the Festival of International Conferences on Care giving, Disability, Aging and Technology. This conference was the first of its kind and attracted more than 1,100 people from more than 60 countries.

    Everything Humanly Possible: The Campaign for Toronto Rehab Launched

    The Toronto Rehab Foundation launched the public phase of a $60-million capital campaign, Everything Humanly Possible: The Campaign for Toronto Rehab.

    iDAPT Announced

    Toronto Rehab announced its $36 million research initiative - iDAPT (Intelligent Design for Adaptive Participation and Technology), which will bring together hundreds of scientists, research students, clinicians, social scientists, engineers and industrial designers from across Canada and beyond and state-of-the-art technology in a collaborative venture.

    First $5M Personal Donation Received

    The Toronto Rehab Foundation received the largest personal donation to date. In recognition of the $5M gift, the Queen Elizabeth Centre was renamed The E.W. Bickle Centre for Complex Continuing Care.

  • 2006
    FHRAT Program Introduced

    The Musculoskeletal Rehab Program developed a successful and cost-effective model of care for hip fracture patients who have cognitive impairments, called Fractured Hip Rapid Assessment and Treatment (FHRAT). Toronto Rehab trained hundreds of health care practitioners to roll out the new model in 34 hospitals across the GTA.

    New Palliative Care Unit Opened

    The Complex Continuing Care Program opened a palliative care unit to provide treatment to relieve symptoms of far-advanced, life-threatening illnesses and help people live as comfortably as possible.

  • 2005
    Scholarship for Research Students with Disabilities Launched

    Toronto Rehab launched an innovative Scholarship in Rehabilitation-related Research for Students with Disabilities to involve people with disabilities in rehabilitation research by supporting and mentoring them to become scientists. TD Bank Group generously provided funding.

    New FES Technique Pioneered

    Toronto Rehab researchers pioneered a new application for Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to teach damaged muscles to move again in people paralyzed by stroke and spinal cord injury, restoring unprecedented levels of balance, walking and grasping.

  • 2004
    Cardiac Diabetes Service Launched

    The Cardiac Rehab and Secondary Prevention Program launched the specialized Diabetes, Exercise and Healthy Lifestyle Service to help adults living with diabetes to improve their quality of life.

    Lakeside Long-Term Care Centre Grand Opening

    Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman officially opened Toronto Rehab's newest facility, Lakeside Long-Term Care Centre.

    IPE Student Placement Program Introduced

    Toronto Rehab is the first Toronto-area hospital to develop an interprofessional education (IPE) student placement program.

  • 2003
    Link Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Function Discovered

    Toronto Rehab researchers were the first to show that treating sleep apnea in people with congestive heart failure improves their heart function.

  • 2002
    Hemodialysis Service Launched

    Toronto Rehab opened Canada's first dialysis unit for seniors in a rehabilitation setting. Dialysis treatments started at University Centre for Geriatric Rehab and Complex Continuing Care patients in collaboration with the University Health Network.

  • 2001
    New Specialty Spinal Cord Clinics Added

    The Spinal Cord Rehab Program completed the addition of new specialty outpatient clinics, including a skin and wound clinic, a bone densitometry lab, and a gynaecology clinic, to complement the existing seating, urology and assistive technology clinics.

    Multiple Trauma and Oncology Rehab Services Launched

    The Musculoskeletal Rehab Program launched a Multiple Trauma Rehab Service for people who experience multiple injuries, often as a result of traumatic circumstances. It also launched the city's only Oncology Rehabilitation Service, which specializes in rehabilitation services for people who have cancer of the musculoskeletal system.

  • 2000
    Unprecedented Research Investment Received

    Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Elizabeth Witmer announced an unprecedented $15M grant over five years to fund rehabilitation research at Toronto Rehab. The Toronto Rehab Foundation augmented this with a further commitment of $1M annually.

    First Research Chairs Created

    Toronto Rehab's first five research chairs were created and two were fully funded: the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Chair at the University of Toronto and the Saunderson Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury Research at Toronto Rehab.

  • 1999
    Foundations Merged

    The Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto Foundation and the Lyndhurst Hospital Foundation merged to create the Toronto Rehab Foundation.

  • 1998
    Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Created

    Toronto Rehab was created by the amalgamation of the Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto, the Toronto Rehabilitation Centre and Lyndhurst Hospital.

  • 1997
    Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto Established

    The Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto was created by the merger of The Queen Elizabeth and Hillcrest Hospitals.

  • 1945
    Lyndhurst Hospital Opened

    Lyndhurst Hospital was created to provide rehabilitation services for Second World War veterans who had suffered spinal cord injuries. It was the first rehab hospital of its kind in North America and soon became internationally renowned.

  • 1922
    Toronto Rehabilitation Centre Founded

    The Toronto Rehabilitation Centre was founded to meet the rehabilitation needs of Canadians wounded in the First World War. It was the first free-standing rehab facility in North America and later became home to the first outpatient cardiac program in Ontario.

  • 1886
    Hillcrest Hospital Began Operations

    Hillcrest Hospital began providing long-term care and gradually added services such as occupational therapy. In the 1970s, it developed new rehabilitation programs for stroke survivors, amputees and cardiac patients.

  • 1874
    The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Opened

    The Queen Elizabeth Hospital opened as the first institution in Canada devoted to compassionate and professional care of persons suffering from incurable disease. It began offering physiotherapy and occupational therapy in the 1930s and created a dedicated rehabilitation program in the 1970s.

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