Sunnybrook's new rooftop helipad:
life-saving infrastructure

Sunnybrook's new rooftop helipad provides faster access to Canada's largest trauma centre and to our program for high-risk mothers and babies.

This new helipad means that the most critically ill and severely injured patients — who arrive from all over Ontario — gain valuable minutes in getting to life-saving care.

Construction of the rooftop helipad was completed in fall 2019. Air ambulances began landing on the new rooftop helipad in January 2020.

Watch the first landing

The first helicopter landed on the new helipad in January 2020, as part of a test run, which included a simulation in Canada's largest trauma centre. Read more and watch below.

See the 360° view from our new rooftop helipad

Having trouble viewing the 360° view? Get instructions here »

  • On a desktop computer: play the video below, then click and drag the video screen to look around in 360°!
  • On a phone or tabletdownload the official YouTube app, and open the video below in the YouTube app. Tilt your phone or swipe with your fingers to view the full 360° view!

About our trauma centre

Sunnybrook’s Level 1 Tory Regional Trauma Centre is the largest in Canada

Our trauma centre sees approximately 2,000 patients every year.

Each trauma patient is looked after by a highly specialized trauma team.

Our trauma centre was the first of its kind in Canada. It opened in 1976.

Air transport at Sunnybrook

Ornge helicopter

About 15 per cent of our 2,000 trauma cases arrive by helicopter every year. Patients can arrive directly from on-scene trauma or as transfers from over 80 referring hospitals across Ontario.

Patients have been arriving at Sunnybrook by air ambulance for almost 40 years. Previously, air ambulances landed at Sunnybrook's ground-level helipad, located about 500 metres from the hospital.

Our rooftop helipad

The new helipad is located on top of the hospital’s M-Wing at our Bayview Campus. The platform measures 75 feet by 75 feet, and it links to an elevator core via a covered tunnel to protect patients and paramedics from the weather.

Two elevators enable quick and more efficient access to care areas like the trauma room, critical care, operating suites, high-risk birthing and premature newborn critical care.

The $13.5-million helipad project has been funded almost entirely by donors, primarily the Gelato Cup Golf Tournament and The Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation.

Why it matters: patient stories

A few of the many patients who have arrived at Sunnybrook by air ambulance:

Saving lives

Ultimately the new helipad is about life-saving care, and providing the very best care for patients with traumatic injuries.

The ‘golden hour’ is a term used frequently in trauma care as it refers to the first 60 minutes following a traumatic injury, which are the most vital in determining a patient’s outcome. The more quickly a trauma patient can be seen by a trauma team within the first 60 minutes, the more his or her chances of survival improve.

About Ornge landings at Sunnybrook

  • Ornge lands at Sunnybrook on all even numbered days of the month between 7 a.m. until 7 a.m. the following morning. They then alternate with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Ornge would still land at Sunnybrook on designated “St. Mike’s days” if there is a surge in trauma patients requiring treatment.
  • Upon landing the helicopter, the engines are required to be run at idle for a cool-down period prior to shut down.
  • During engine start up, there are system checks and checklists that need to be followed, as well as entering a flight plan into Ornge’s Flight Management System prior to takeoff. A certain amount of time is required to complete these tasks.
  • Noise patterns can vary significantly dependent on altitude, temperature, wind direction and other variables.
  • The Sunnybrook helipad has a 360 degree approach and departure path. This means that any air operator, including Ornge, is able to land and depart the helipad from all directions. In particular, Ornge helicopters must fly into the wind for the safety of our crew, patients and aircraft.

Watch highlights from the construction project 

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