Sims looks back on time with Kirkland and Englehart Hospitals
Kirkland Lake's new CT scan should be operational by the New Year

As Gary Sims looks back on his time as President and CEO of Kirkland and District Hospital and Englehart hospital (Blanche River Health) he does so with pride.

It was recently announced that Sims will be leaving in November to take a position with Grey Bruce Health Services.

Sims sat down with the Northern News to reflect on his four years in Kirkland Lake.

“When I first came here we had a mandate to do certain things and I think the two boards have worked hard. My executive and Management team have worked hard to achieve all of those goals and I think we have come a long way to achieving that. For me it was four excellent years of working with great people.”

As for he and his team’s accomplishments over the four years, he says bringing the two hospital boards together was significant.

“Creating a platform for the future that is now sustainable financially; both organizations are in much better financial shape than they were when we first started. That is a key factor for us to succeed in the future and to expand our services.”

He added from a clinical point of view getting approval for the new CT scan at KDH is also important. Sims pointed out construction on the new unit will start in late October or early November and it is expected to be up and running in early January.”

He added the creation of the new Non Urgent Patient Transfer program that will begin early this fall that will service both Englehart and Kirkland and District Hospital will also be important for both facilities.

“That is quite the innovative approach. We’ve had four separate contracts with private sector companies over the last four years. Unfortunately the private sector companies struggled to make it work. Our innovative approach here was to purchase the two transfer ambulances or what we call ambulances for non-urgent transfers. Hopefully we will have it running in early October which would be fantastic.”

In the announcement of Sims’ departure The Joint Board of Directors that they are “investigating our options as we begin the process of securing a new Chief Executive Officer.”

Courtesy of Northern Daily News


Kirkland and District Hospital creates a Healing Space


In working with the Indigenous community, a Healing space has been created at the Kirkland and District Hospital. With guidance and partnership from the Matachewan and Beaverhouse First Nations, a ceremony was held on July 27, 2019 to mark the official opening of the room called the “Healing Centre”. This Healing Centre is a space of healing for patients and families while at the Kirkland and District Hospital. The Healing Centre was blessed with a smudging ceremony lead by Barney Batisse, Elder and Councillor and former Chief of Matachewan First Nations and joined by Elders from the Matachewan and Beaverhouse First Nations. This was followed by a joint drumming ceremony from the Beaverhouse and Matachewan First Nations drummers.

Smudging is a traditional ceremony for spiritual cleansing, medicinal purposes or a blessing. The ceremony involves prayer and the burning of one or more of the four sacred medicines: sage, tobacco, cedar and sweet grass. A smudge is led by a person who understands what it is and why it is done. That person may be an Elder or a traditional teacher who is knowledgeable about the tradition of smudging.

For more information about the Healing Centre, please contact:

Cindy Honeyborne, Communications, Quality and Patient Safety Leader, Englehart & Kirkland District  Hospitals at 705-567-5251 ext. 3202.



Kirkland and District Hospital Acquires an Art Collection


The Kirkland and District hospital has received some beautification thanks
to the Kirkland Lake Contemporary Arts Council(KLCAC).
Representatives from the council as well as hospital officials recently
unveiled a new permanent display which sees artwork hanging on a
number of walls in the lobby and in various other areas of the hospital.
President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Sims explained the donation of
the artwork came after a meeting with KLCAC President Cesar Forero.
“(He) approached me about the possibility of creating the art collection here
at the hospital. I was taken aback by the idea and how do you say no to
that. The original idea, about a year and a half ago, is that we would start
with one or two pieces and we would start it in about a year. Here we are
now and we have over 20 pieces already committed.

“The enthusiasm behind it has been incredible. One of the greatest parts of
art is that is has a healing quality to it so what better partnership then
having a feeling place with the arts.”
He added down the road they might be able to auction some of the pieces
off with the money going directly to buy much needed equipment that will
help patients. “It is an absolute win, win win,” Sims said.

For her part, Hospital Board Chair Michelle Lafreniere stated she is very
proud to have the collection in the hospital.
“It is very, very beautiful with very unique pieces. We are very proud to have

One of the pieces in the collection was created by former Kirkland Laker
and skating/artistic legend Toller Cranston. Cranston’s sister Phillippa
traveled from Toronto for the occasion and seemed extremely pleased with
what she saw.
“The collection is absolutely stunning. And it’s not just each piece
individually that is stunning but the fact the whole town supports artists in
the way they do. I thought what Gary Sims said about art being healing was
extraordinary and I know Toller would have certainly subscribed to that.”
As for having one of her brother’s pieces hanging in the collection, she said
“it leaves me speechless. I could not be more proud.”

Phillippa Transton, sister of Toller Cranston stands under a piece created by her brother Toller. The piece hangs in the lobby of the hospital.

Courtesy of Northern Daily News

An ongoing facelift at Englehart and District Hospital is designed to “build a hospital for the future,” says CEO Gary Sims. Over the past couple of years, the hospital has made substantial repairs to its exterior.

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Kirkland and District Hospital
145 Government Road East
Kirkland Lake, ON
P2N 3P4

Phone:  (705) 567-5251 
Fax: (705)-568-2102

Englehart and District Hospital
61-5th Street
Englehart, ON
P0J 1H0

Phone: (705)-544-2301
Fax: 705)-544-5222
E-mail: General Inquires 
E-mail: Compliments and Concerns