Mario first raised the issue of bringing a hospital to Vaughan in 1985, as part of his election campaign. He wasn’t just thinking locally, but regionally; with massive growth planned for Vaughan as well as the nearby towns and cities of Markham, Richmond Hill and more. The already busy few hospitals in the area would soon become overwhelmed with patients and health related services and it wasn’t until the year 2003, that the City of Vaughan made it a community priority.
The funding and land needed for the hospital became a political football both at the City and Queen’s Park. When Mario was elected MPP in 2003, he along with other local MPPs and some community leaders took the issue directly to the Ministers of Health and secured funding for a feasibility study that could prove the need for a hospital. While at Queen’s Park, Mario had the pleasure of informing the Mayor at the time, that the province had changed the rules and would cover 90% of a hospital’s construction costs, instead of 70%.
The feasibility study that Mario and others had fought hard proved the legitimate need for the new hospital in Vaughan and received government approval in July 2011. Ground for the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital was broken at Jane Street and Major Mackenzie Drive in October 2016.
When completed in 2020, it will be the first hospital built in the City of Vaughan and the first new hospital built in the York Region in the last 30 years. It will include a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services and operating rooms, advance diagnostic imaging, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds, and approximately 90% single occupancy acute-care patient rooms for infection prevention and control. In fact, it will be the first “Smart” hospital to be built in Canada.