main hospital building at night


Celebrating 20 Years of Integrated and Exceptional Care


By President & CEO Jeanette Despatie - Published in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder on Saturday, January 20th, 2024 

Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is celebrating a significant milestone this year as it marks its 20th anniversary. While the hospital's historical roots extend beyond Confederation, it was two decades ago this month that a decision by the provincial government paved the way for the amalgamation of the city's two acute care hospitals – Hotel Dieu and Cornwall General – into the Cornwall Community Hospital, McConnell Site or Second Street Site, operating under one board and administration.

Aligned with a provincial directive, CCH, alongside other Ontario hospitals, embraced a vision of merging to create larger healthcare organizations within their communities. The primary objective was to enhance the hospital's capacity to meet the healthcare needs of the patient population by sharing resources and services guided by a unified vision and administration.



The ensuing two decades have been an extraordinary journey of integration, growth and innovation for CCH, starting with the consolidation of services on the McConnell Site. By 2006, the hospital successfully consolidated its Emergency services at McConnell, followed by the completion of the "Early Works Project" in 2008, which involved renovations to consolidate the Critical Care Unit and Birthing suites. However, the overarching objective was the establishment of a new facility. Envisioning the future, the goal was to unite all services within a state-of-the-art hospital campus on McConnell Avenue. This ambitious plan aimed to create a centralized and streamlined care experience, providing many advantages for both patients and visitors.


The province endorsed this vision, approving the Redevelopment Project, which included the construction of a new 95,000 square-foot West Wing addition to the McConnell Site. In 2009, CCH officially broke ground, initiating the construction of a modern, consolidated acute care hospital. Over the next several years, the McConnell Site transformed into a bustling construction zone, contributing significantly to the local trade and hospitality industry, and generating more than 100,000 hours of construction manpower.

GB Construction

The $126 million project was mostly funded by the province with substantial contributions from our municipalities and the community through the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation, demonstrating the community’s profound commitment to the enhancement of their new hospital.

The project reached completion as planned in 2014. The ultramodern West Wing introduced 37' glass walls for more natural light, new state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment, new operating suites, a new emergency department, additional services and cutting-edge technologies.


The closure of the Second Street site that same year marked a pivotal moment, with all services and staff transitioning to the newly consolidated West Wing, officially forming the fully integrated and advanced hospital campus on McConnell Avenue as envisioned.

The community responded with excitement during this period. Open houses drew eager community members. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 25, 2015, was attended by over 200 dignitaries. The new West Wing became the focal point of conversations throughout town. 

 Ribbon cutting

Since then, CCH has continued its trajectory of consolidated innovation to grow and meet needs. In 2016, the hospital implemented a state-of-the-art electronic health record system, establishing CCH as one of Canada's fully digitally integrated community hospitals. This digital system unified health records and hospital staff in real-time, providing immediate access to patient information across departments. The recent integration of our electronic health record system with local long-term care facilities exemplifies the system’s continued significant contributions to patient outcomes as well as our growth, sustainability, and digital transformation.


The amalgamation of Addiction Services of Eastern Ontario with CCH in 2013 paved the way for the opening of the Community Addiction and Mental Health Services Centre in 2017. Strategically positioned next to the hospital, this centre seamlessly amalgamated adult and youth mental health and addiction services previously dispersed across different sites in Cornwall.


Additional notable achievements to advance locally integrated healthcare have included the introduction of Cornwall's first Chemotherapy Clinic at CCH in 2016, opening the on-site Family Caregiver Centre in 2019, designation as a District Stroke Centre for the East Champlain Region in 2021 and opening a new Acute Stroke Unit in 2022. Additionally, our recent acquisition of the property at 825 McConnell Avenue underscores our commitment to maintaining a consolidated hospital campus on our side of McConnell Avenue for the foreseeable future.


The unforeseen challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic tested the resilience of CCH. Nevertheless, the investments made over the years in consolidating services since 2004 positioned the hospital to respond effectively and navigate a strong recovery on behalf of our community.

Looking ahead, the future looks bright for CCH. As we stand proud of our accomplishments over the past two decades, I believe we are positioned to meet the future needs of the community, guided by our shared vision of providing Exceptional Care. Always. and the strong support of our people and communities. We look forward to continuing to provide care for you in the coming decades and beyond.