This is a story about our place, a story about our community. Two centuries ago, we joined forces with the Montreal General Hospital to form McGill’s first faculty and Canada’s first medical faculty (for an early history of the Faculty, please see Brief History of Medicine at McGill by former Dean Richard Cruess). This partnership and the many others that have developed over the years are celebrated in the first instalment of our timeline, 200 Years, 200 Stories, where we take you on a tour of some of the places that have made the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences what it is today.
In a mutually beneficial arrangement, McGill College and the Montreal Medical Institution (MMI), a proprietary medical school established by four Montreal General Hospital (MGH) physicians, merged. The MMI became the College’s first faculty, and the MGH its teaching hospital.
The University Lying-in Hospital - established by McGill’s Faculty of Medicine (now the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), hence its name, as a teaching hospital - offered poor, often unmarried or immigrant women, a safe place to give birth.
The Protestant Hospital for the Insane was founded in 1881 to serve the English-speaking community of Montreal. Built on former farmland in Verdun, the hospital was completed and admitted its first patients in 1890. McGill medical students began training in psychiatry there in 1900.
The imposing Royal Victoria Hospital, built on the southern slope of Mount Royal on land donated in 1887 by rail barons Lords Strathcona and Mount Stephen, opened its doors in 1893.
The Children’s Memorial Hospital's (now the Montreal Children’s Hospital) leafy setting near Mount Royal was regarded as the perfect spot for its young patients, many of whom were suffering from respiratory diseases like tuberculosis, to recuperate.
The Royal Edward Institute (now the Montreal Chest Institute), a hospital dedicated to treating and researching tuberculosis, was opened in Montreal in 1909. The opening was performed remotely by King Edward VII: with the flick of a telegraph switch, a transatlantic signal made the doors of the new hospital in Montreal, 3,000 miles away, swing open, the lights come on, and the flag fly up the flagpole.
In 1920, McGill’s School for Graduate Nurses welcomed its first students, in the shadow of World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic, devastating events that had a catalyzing effect on the nursing profession.
Despite falling in the middle of the Depression, 1934 was a particularly auspicious year for health care in Montreal, with the opening of three English-language hospitals.
The School of Physiotherapy was established in 1943 and was the first in Canada to be part of a faculty of medicine. Occupational therapy was introduced in 1950, and the school was renamed the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT) in 1951.
The School of Communication Sciences and Disorders began its operation in September 1963 as part of the Division of Audiology and Speech Pathology of the Institute of Otolaryngology at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Using fake patients in very real situations, the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning has helped thousands of health sciences learners test their mettle in a setting where they can ‘do no harm.’
The brainchild of a group of biomedical researchers who knew McGill needed to build state-of-the-art lab facilities and equipment if it wanted to attract the brightest minds to the university, the Life Sciences Complex opened its doors in 2008.
In February 2015, Quebec’s National Assembly adopted An Act to modify the organization and governance of the health and social services network. This law consolidated a majority of the health and social services at the core of a Réseau Territorial de Services (RTS) to either a Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux (CISSS) or Centre Intégré Universitaire de Santé et de Services Sociaux (CIUSSS).
Embracing change and the multidisciplinary nature of its vibrant health care and research community, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is (re)born.
In August 2020, McGill's new Campus Outaouais welcomed its first cohort. For the first time in McGill’s long history, the teaching program at one of its campuses is taking place exclusively in French.