Our Hospital

Elizabeth McMaster, Founder

We can only imagine what life was like for some in the Toronto of the mid-1870’s. We do know that poverty and disease  motivated Elizabeth McMaster and her friends to improve the lives of families and children living in squalid conditions with unsafe water and no toilet facilities.  With pneumonia, scarlet fever, diptheria, typhoid and the effects of tuberculosis on the rise, she was convinced that Toronto desperately needed a hospital for sick children.  With little money and a strong faith she launched her venture in an 11 room house rented for $320 a year.  The first patient, Maggie, a scalding victim, was admitted on April 3, 1875.

67 College St, 1892-1951

From those humble beginnings, through several early moves, to 67 College Street in 1892 and onward to 555 University Ave in 1951 and the Atrium in 1993, the Hospital for Sick Children has always been a world leader in the care of sick children.

Unfortunately, it  is not feasible to rewrite the hospital’s history here but rather to suggest you link to the SickKids website (see direct link below).  There you will find the highlights of over 135 years of caring for children and many interesting old photos.

555 University Ave. 1951 – present

One way to tell the story of our hospital is through the writings and reflections of our own graduates.  Over the years “The Alumnae News” has published many articles written with feeling and humour, sadness and rejoicing – articles about life and work at a hospital we came to know so well.  Below you will find links to some of these stories.

Viewing highlights of our history in “bullet form” provides you with an overview, but only stories can make it come alive.

The Atrium on Elizabeth St. 1993- present

Enjoy these at your leisure!

Click here to link to milestones in the history of the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto on the SickKids website.

In December 2016 a new book “SickKids: The History of the Hospital for Sick Children” written by David Wright. It is available at the hospital and through Chapters/Indigo

1. New Sights and Scenes at HSC – 1941 – Lucy Ashton

A tongue in cheek article from the Alumnae News in 1941 by L. Ashton The old building still stands (67 College Street), but many changes take place within.  The square inch alley-way (between the tunnel and the laundry) you remember as you passed by, catching a glimpse of a dying O2 tent?  This has now […]

2. We Take A Walk Through The Hospital (College St) – 1946

Author Unknown.  An article that appeared in the “Alumnae News“, 1946 Those of you who have been away from the hospital for a few years, or even for a few months, would probably like to take a trip around the old homestead, and see a few of the changes.  (Note: Author refers to staff returning […]

3. Looking Back and Preparing for the Move – J. Masten – 1950

Report to the Graduating Class of June 13, 1950 Note:  This article appears in the 1950 edition of “The Alumnae News”.  It provides a wonderful overview of life and times at HSC as staff plan for their upcoming move from College Street (1892 – 1951) to 555 University Avenue.  Many graduates will remember this transition, […]

4. Reflections on the Move to 555 University Ave – Dr. E.A. Morgan – 1951

Excerpts from address by Dr. E.A. Morgan to the Graduating Class May 1951 From “The Alumnae News” 1952 “………….Great changes have occurred since the last graduating exercises.  We have moved into a wonderful new hospital but the change has been attended by mixed emotions and many of us feel as though we have left our […]

5. Fifty Years Ago at HSC – Barb Fleming – 1993

Article appears in “Alumnae News” Spring 1993. (Barb wrote this reflection as the hospital was about to open its newest patient care wing, The Atrium on Elizabeth directly behind 555 University Ave) The “new” HSC formally opened its doors January 15, 1951 at 2:00 PM.  The event was attended by R.A. Laidlaw, Chairman of the […]

6. The Hospital For Sick Children Opens Its New Doors In 1993

Article in “Alumnae News“, Spring 1993 The years of planning, fundraising, construction, waiting and everything else that goes along with a new building culminated in the spectacular opening of the new patient care centre, the Atrium. The seventh home of the hospital took nearly 7 years to build at a cost of  $232 million – […]

7. The Opening of the Centre for Nursing and the Establishment of the Signy Hildur Eaton Chair in Paediatric Nursing Research Oct 1997

Excerpts of an article written in “Alumnae News” Spring 1998 by Eleanor Pask Cl’59 A very impressive ceremony was held in the Garden patio at HSC on October 23, 1997.  Presentations were made by Mr. Michael Strofolino, President and CEO of HSC; Dr. Jean Reeder, Chief of Nursing; Dr Dorothy Pringle, Dean of the Faculty […]