Prime Minister Stephen Harper and hundreds of other dignitaries were on hand Thursday to help celebrate the official opening of Edmonton's new Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute.


The $217 million Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, part of the University of Alberta Hospital, officially opened Thursday. ((CBC))

The $217 million institute at the University of Alberta Hospital was built by the provincial government to bring together heart specialists and researchers in complex cardiac care, including heart transplants.

It's one of few heart institutes in North America to handle both adult and pediatric heart patients and will serve people across Western Canada and the far North.

"The opening of the Mazankowski Health Institute is a bold step forward in the global fight against heart disease," said Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper was among hundreds of dignitaries who attended the opening of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute Thursday. ((CBC))

"We're proud to have this important resource for all Canadians right here in Alberta."

The hospital has 124 beds, five adult operating rooms and one pediatric operating room.

Some outpatient and testing facilities are already in use, but the bulk of the institute will not be in operation until the fall.

The centre is named after former deputy prime minister Don Mazankowski, a longtime MP who represented a riding east of Edmonton.