Christie Gardens

Site History


Our building site has a rich and storied history, beginning in 1912 with the opening of a National Cash Register Factory.


In 1919 the site was converted to become the Toronto Military Orthopedic Hospital (also known as the Dominion Orthopedic Hospital). With 875 beds for Veterans returning from foreign wars and named by patients as The Christie Street Hospital, the hospital became known for its Limb Factory, providing free prosthetic limbs to veterans.


In 1936 the hospital was formally renamed The Christie Street Veterans Hospital and in 1939 was the location of a Royal Visit by King George VI and the Royal Family.


Under pressure from families of veterans and acknowledging that the cavernous factory was not suitable as a hospital, the War Department agreed to close Christie Street in favour of a new Veterans hospital that was to be purpose-built.


In 1943 construction began on Sunnybrook Veterans Hospital, and by September 1946 patients began to transfer from Christie Street to Sunnybrook, which had its grand opening in June 1948.


In 1948, with all patients having transferred to Sunnybrook, The Christie Street Veterans Hospital closed and the site was used as a seniors’ home called Lambert Lodge. Lambert Lodge was named for Lt. Col. Sidney E. Lambert SM OBE who was a survivor of Vimy Ridge and later injured at the Battle of the Somme in WWI. Padre Lambert had served as Chaplain for Christie Street and Sunnybrook and later went on to found what became the War Amps of Canada.


Having been vacant for a number of years, the building then known as Lambert Lodge was demolished in 1981, making way for Christie Gardens Apartments & Care, which opened in August 1987.

Christie Gardens History

A need identified, a community established, and a dream realized!

In 1984 Christie Gardens began its journey as a unique residential retirement community. Mr. David Alexander, Founding President and Chair of the Board until his retirement in 2012, and his friend and colleague the late Mr. William Wilkie, had been concerned for some time about the challenges faced by their elderly friends and family members.

Men of action and strong personal Christian faith, they developed their dream; a place where seniors could enjoy flexible accommodation and services for the rest of their lives: a continuing care community.


Identified 600/602 Melita Crescent as the site for the continuing care community

The CMHC Housing 56.1 funding project for not-for-profit seniors’ housing approved the plan and insured the mortgage.


The Ministry of Health of Ontario approved the purchase and transfer of 88 nursing home licenses.

Welcomed our first residents to Christie Gardens Apartments and Nursing Home.

In August Christie Gardens opened its doors to 88 nursing home residents and staff.

In October the 217 apartments were ready for residents. Our reputation as an excellent option for seniors emerged rapidly and the community was fully occupied within the first year.



Established a small retirement home on Floor One as part of the community. We called it "ResCare", though it would later become known as Assisted Living.


Grace Sweatman hired as Administrator.


The Ministry of Health introduced Community Care Access Centres (CCACs), a government operated placement service for access to nursing homes, now identified as Long Term Care. 43 CCACs were established in Ontario to "provide simplified access to home and community care; deliver and make the arrangement for the delivery of home care services to people in their homes, schools and communities; provide information and referral to the public on community-related services; and authorize admissions to long-term care homes."

1999 – 2003

Renovated and revitalized the original building through the addition of 84 Life Lease Suites, marketed as The Terrace at Christie Gardens.


Welcomed Life Lease residents to The Terrace at Christie Gardens.


"Country Lane 2005" Mural completed on Christie Street by a team of residents, volunteers, and Councillor Joe Mihevc.


First in Canada to earn CARF accreditation.

42 CCACs amalgamated by the Ministry of Health into 14 newly formed Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) which were established with a mandate to plan, fund and integrate health care services in their regions.


2008 – 2009

Undertook a major strategic analysis in order to determine the action needed to assure access to care, if and when needed thereby sustaining the original dream.

2010 – 2011

Phased out the Long Term Care beds and established a self-funded Care Home: “The Courtyard Community”.


David Alexander retires as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Stuart Hartley elected as Chairman.

Identified the critical need for a new model of service for our Elders.

Launched a Capital Campaign to support a major physical plant renovation and culture change initiative.

Celebrated the opening of “The Annex”, our first redesigned neighbourhood in the Courtyard.

Celebrated the opening of “Seaton Village”, our second redesigned neighbourhood in the Courtyard.


Grace Sweatman retires from position of CEO and becomes President of The Christie Gardens Foundation.

Celebrated our 30th Anniversary!

Heather Janes promoted to CEO.


Celebrated Grace Sweatman's 30 years of service.


Selected the EDEN Alternative as a model that felt consistent with our philosophy – became an EDEN Registered Home.


Launched the Christie Academy, our training program for all staff.

Celebrated the opening of “Cedarvale Park”, our third redesigned neighbourhood in the Courtyard.

Launched “Let’s Keep Moving!”, our fundraising campaign to develop a ground floor fitness and physiotherapy centre.


Celebrated our 35th Anniversary!

"Joyful Journey: an Adventure in Eldercare" is published. After a forty-year career in eldercare, Grace Sweatman has stories to tell! From receptionist to CEO and nearly every role in between, Grace has a truly rare perspective on this growing service industry. In this book, Grace shares some of those stories from her "Joyful Journey" and the lessons learned along the way. In the closing chapters, she draws a roadmap to achieving a much-needed culture change in long-term care. From the beginning of her career, Grace recognized deep flaws in the services extended to our elders at their time of greatest need, and this heartfelt concern drove her to seek meaningful solutions. With great passion, she has been unrelenting in her efforts to see them implemented. Grace believes there is indeed a better way. She is trusting that this collection of memories will encourage others in their personal journey, whatever its destination.


Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Christie Gardens Foundation established a Staff Care Fund to assist Christie Gardens staff with costs associated with living in isolation away from their families.


Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Christie Gardens Foundation in collaboration with StreetART Toronto and Red Urban Nation Artist Collective developed a new "Sunflower Mural" on Christie Street.


The Christie Gardens Foundation Scholarship “Inspire” is launched to encourage staff and their families to pursue continuing education in fields related to elder care.

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