Transformation of pediatric spaces puts a smile on faces of youngest patients

Smilezone Chair and members of The Tragically Hip cutting the ribbonThree busy pediatric areas in Hotel Dieu Hospital are now much brighter, more interactive and even more “Hip” thanks to a major kid-friendly makeover project donated by the Smilezone Foundation and supported by Juno Award-winning band The Tragically Hip.  A grand opening today marked an amazing transformation geared to improving the lives of young patients and their families.

“It's an honour to be a part of the Smilezone initiative,” says Hip lead guitarist Rob Baker.  “To be able to help bring a smile to children's faces is our responsibility and an absolute pleasure.”

Backed by a group of successful professionals that make up its volunteer Board of Directors, the national Smilezone Foundation creates, builds and transforms areas (zones) in hospitals, private treatment and development centres and children’s clinics to help improve the lives of children facing illness, disabilities, and physical and emotional obstacles.

At Hotel Dieu, Smilezone generously revitalized three pediatric spaces—the waiting area in the Children’s Outpatient Centre (COPC), a therapeutic gym in the Child Development Centre (CDC) and a play area in the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic.

In three days—Oct. 16 to 18—the Smilezone team refurbished the spaces at lightning-fast speed, installing:

  • vibrant new paint colours
  • big, bright and inspirational wall murals
  • custom seating and cabinetry to store therapeutic equipment,  toys and DVDs
  • iPads to entertain and engage young patients.

In addition, children with special needs who receive therapy in the CDC gym can now practice their motor skills using an interactive ScreenPlay system, while young ENT patients can stimulate their senses with special tactile and sound/music activity panels.  In the COPC, a Tragically Hip motif weaves visually through the space to reflect the overall theme of music, nature and fantasy.

“These renovations make the pediatric spaces more welcoming and fun for our young patients, which helps to relieve the anxiety of being in the hospital for a visit or treatment,” says Mike McDonald, Chief of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive at Hotel Dieu.  “We’re very grateful to the Smilezone Foundation for helping to create areas that kids can call their own and that boost the spirits of patients and caregivers alike.”

“On behalf of Smilezone Foundation’s Board of Directors, we’re just thrilled with this very special installation,” says Scott Bachly, Chair, Smilezone Foundation.  “We extend a huge thank you to The Tragically Hip for their support, and to the incredible Board, staff, clinicians, patients and families at Hotel Dieu Hospital. Always remember to smile!"

To learn more about the Smilezone Foundation visit

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