St. Joe’s 100th

1921 to 2021: Celebrating 100 years of caring for our west-end communities

Congratulations to all our St. Joe’s staff, physicians, learners, volunteers, patients, founders, donors, friends and community members! This year St. Joseph’s Health Centre will turn 100 years old and celebrate a century of exemplary care. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto founded St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1921, in what was once their Sacred Heart Orphanage. The motivation for the hospital’s founding was twofold: first, to respond to the growing need for health care in the west end of Toronto, and second, to prevent municipal developers from expropriating the orphanage’s property, as hospitals were protected from expropriation.

Sacred heart orphanage
Sacred Heart Orphanage, 1907

Following the decision to pivot the use of the orphanage, one wing was converted into a 25-bed hospital with one doctor, a handful of orderlies and nurses, as well as the Sisters. On October 19, 1921, St. Joseph’s Hospital admitted its first patient – Mr. Cornelius Murphy.

Also in 1921, the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing was founded (present day Sunnyside building) and the first class of 6 nurses graduated in 1924. Since St. Joseph’s Hospital served as the only hospital between Bathurst Street and Hamilton, the hospital transitioned into a 112-bed facility in 1925, to support the continued growth of the west end of Toronto.

St Joes staff
St. Joseph’s Hospital Staff, c1921

In 1980, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Hospital merged to become St. Joseph’s Health Centre in order to improve patient care and better serve the community.

Today, with over 400 beds and a community teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, we serve nearly half a million people. We continue to care for the city’s west-end communities, balancing continued commitment to the care of those most in need with providing highly specialized services to the community.

Learn more about how St. Joe’s has evolved over the past 100 years with these stories of our history and photos from our archives. Check back regularly for updates.

Last updated August 27, 2021