Makayla’s Room, McMaster Children’s Hospital
In 2018, our Architectural, Mechanical and Interior Design team worked closely with stakeholders on the design and construction of Makayla’s Room, an Indigenous family room at McMaster Children’s Hospital, a space for patients and families to learn about and participate in Indigenous culture. The room is dedicated to the memory of Makayla Sault, of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, who died in January 2015 after refusing chemotherapy in favour of alternative healing methods to treat her cancer.
The scope of the project included redesigning the existing storage space into a warm, relaxing environment for patients and families to lounge, prepare and eat meals together. The room was sensitively designed as a safe space for Indigenous patients to meet with healers and hold traditional ceremonies.
The design of the new space needed to purposefully work around the custom painted mural in dedication to Makayla. The mural features striking bold colours. Woodland animals sit on branches and rocks, each representing an important aspect of Indigenous culture. At the centre, stands a figure in the warrior pose, Makayla, reaching towards the sky.
The project included visual wayfinding at the entrance door, new millwork, furniture and full finishes selection. Mechanical systems were designed to contain the smoke which was emitted during smudging ritual and exhaust it from the space.
Stacey LaForme, chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, said he’s “proud the room memorializes our beautiful young warrior. It is a beautiful room that will be a place of gathering and of comfort.”