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Orillia hospital marks significant milestone, highlighting need for new facility

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Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) is marking a significant milestone Thursday.

It's been 100 years since the Orillia hospital was renamed in honour of First World War veterans.

Dozens braved the rain and wind for the occasion, including Simcoe-North MP Adam Chambers, Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke, and OSMH's CEO Carmine Stumpo and board chair Leigh Popov.

Originally named 'Orillia General Hospital' when it was built in 1908, the hospital was renamed on April 21, 1922.

Stumpo said the decision was made to honour those who had fought in the First World War.

"World War One was fresh in everyone's mind back in 1922, and the community felt that renaming the hospital was an appropriate memorial to all those who served," Stumpo wrote in a press release.

"It remains an important part of our legacy and our identity. We're proud of the longstanding relationship that has evolved with the local Legion and the eventual establishment of the cenotaph at our main entrance," he added.

"I don't think there's a family in this area that has not been affected in a positive way by Soldiers over the last 100 years, could argue 114 years before it officially became Soldiers," said Mayor Steve Clarke.

One hundred years have brought significant change to the region, and now the ageing building needs to expand to handle the growing population, which is part of the new focus for the hospital.

"We are working with the Ministry of Health and the capital branch of the provincial government in order to secure funding for the project," Popov said.

The hospital is seeking a planning grant from the ministry of around $3 million to move ahead.

Until that funding is secured, there are no details on where and when a new facility will be built.

With files from CTV's Amanda Hicks

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