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St. Joseph’s has a rich and proud history of providing exemplary and compassionate care over the past century. Read more about our milestones and medical firsts by clicking on the dates below.


  • Sacred Heart Orphanage is founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, as a branch of the House of Providence.


  • St. Joseph’s Hospital is founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. The first patient is admitted on October 19th. Upon its founding, the hospital consisted of 25 beds, one physician, a handful of orderlies and nurses, as well as the Sisters.
  • The St. Joseph’s School of Nursing is also founded in this year by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.


  • The first class of six nurses graduates from the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing.


  • The hospital transitions into a modern 112-bed facility.


  • First meeting of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary.


  • The east wing is built, expanding the hospital’s bed capacity to 300, and containing modern Emergency facilities, operating rooms, and obstetrical facilities.
  • The first Board of Directors is also appointed in this year.
  • Out-Patients Department founded to provide support to those could not afford a doctor or medical services.


  • The Canadian Medical Association formally approves the creation of an Internship program for medical students at St. Joseph’s.


  • The growing School of Nursing moves into new accommodations in the Sunnyside Wing West. This new building houses a 120 bed residence, classrooms, and an infirmary.


  • Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, also owned by the Sisters and previously located on Sackville Street, is relocated to Sunnyside Avenue with beds for 272 long-term beds.


  • St. Joseph’s celebrates 25 years (Silver Jubilee).


  • The Frederick Morrow Wing is opened to help cope with the increased number of patients. This new wing increases the hospital’s bed capacity to 600 beds, in addition to also providing additional administrative space.
  • At the time of this new construction, the Sacred Heart Orphanage building is demolished.
  • St. Joseph’s also opens its Paediatric Department, the first in any hospital in Toronto other than the Hospital for Sick Children.


  • St. Joseph’s School of Nursing is registered as an approved school under the Nursing Act.


  • The Sunnyside East Wing is opened in this year. This new wing is built as an addition to the School of Nursing, and contains accommodations for 265 nurses, offices for administration, and rooms for education, an out-patient program, as well as a gym and a library.
  • The first Clinical Day is held this year.


  • The Glendale wing opens. This includes a laboratory, Obstetrics department and Orthopaedic department. The Out-Patients Department from Sunnyside finds a new home on the ground floor. Opening in this wing is also a Community Health Centre for ambulatory patients.

1961 – 1962

  • The older East Wing is renovated and the hospital acquires a larger Emergency Room, an Infection Area, a more modern Central Supply Service, and an Allergy Room.


  • New Psychiatric wing opens. It reaches 100% capacity in the next year.


  • The first Intensive Care Unit in Toronto opens at St. Joseph’s.


  • St. Joseph’s Research Foundation, the first in Toronto, is incorporated in May, 1964.
  • Quo Vadis School of Nursing opens, offering a 2-year program for students over the age of 30, and under 50.


  • Respiratory Unity opens, including the first Respiratory Ambulatory Care Program in Toronto.


  • St. Joseph’s becomes the first hospital in Canada to initiate total parenteral nutrition and the first in Metropolitan Toronto to establish a Pharmacy Unit Dose System.
  • In this year, it also becomes the first hospital in Canada to initiate the Pharmacy Unit Dose System.


  • St. Joseph’s celebrates its 50th Anniversary (Golden Jubilee).


  • Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau visits the hospital.


  • The St. Joseph’s School of Nursing graduates its last class of students. The school is incorporated into the Humber College nursing program.


  • Opening of the George Pennal Library.


  • The Sunnyside Building, formerly home to St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, reopens as an education building part of St. Joseph’s Hospital.


  • St. Joseph’s Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Hospital merge to become St. Joseph’s Health Centre in order to improve patient care, use resources more efficiently, and better serve the community.


  • The first full-time ethics service in Canada is established, in partnership with Providence Healthcare and St. Michael’s Hospital.


  • The first Birthing Coach Program in Canada is started at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
  • St. Joseph’s opens the first Detoxification Unit in Ontario that provided care for women, as well as men.


  • Pope John Paul II visits St. Joseph’s.

1986 – 1989

  • Construction begins on the “Core Building,” which would link the buildings of the two hospitals. It opens in 1989. This $47 million Central or Core Building is designed to not only house the Emergency Department, Diagnostic Imaging, Nutrition Services, Central Supply, Stores and Receiving, Rehabilitation Services and the Operating Room Suite, but to physically link the Our Lady of Mercy Wing (henceforth Mercy Wing) to the three acute care wings (Morrow, East and Glendale). Prior to this, patients being transferred from acute to long term care, or from long term care to acute care, have to be transferred by ambulance. The Justina M. Barnicke Wing is officially opened in June and named after the late wife of longtime St. Joseph’s supporter, Mr. Joseph J. Barnicke.


  • The first Lifeline Program in Toronto, co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Council 1388, is founded.


  • St. Joseph’s is the first hospital in Ontario to grant privileges to midwives to perform in-hospital deliveries.
  • It is also the first hospital in Canada to implement routine cardiac diagnostic blood testing for Troponin I.


  • St. Joseph’s becomes the second hospital in Ontario to offer shock wave lithotripsy, a non-invasive way to break up kidney stones. The service quickly becomes the busiest in the world.


  • The Just for Kids Clinic opens, serving as one of three out-patient children’s clinics in Toronto.


  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada accredits St. Joseph’s combined medical and surgical chest unit (the largest such unit in Toronto) as a teaching unit for thoracic surgery residents.
  • The first hospital in North America to use the Holmium laser treatment for urological disorders.
  • Launches two new pre-natal classes: one for Somalian immigrants and one in sign language for the hearing impaired – the first of their kind in Toronto.


  • On May 20, St. Joseph’s makes history when a Health Centre team performs the first lung reduction surgery for the treatment of emphysema.
  • Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (T-CUP) is founded as the first of its kind in Ontario.

2000 – 2010


  • St. Joseph’s opens a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, the first of its kind in Toronto.


  • St. Joseph’s forms a partnership with Toronto Police Services to create Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, pairing a police officer and a mental health nurse to respond to 911 calls from people who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis.


  • The Vera and Ferdinand Melnyk Pavilion at the Main Entrance of the Health Centre opens.
  • Glendale House, a new out-patient residential care setting that provides clients with a safe and supportive environment to address addiction issues, opens.

2006 – 2007

  • Following completion of a high-level risk and management controls evaluation by the Board of Directors at St. Joseph’s, the Patient Safety, Policy and Standards Department is founded in this year. The following year, the department expands to include Enterprise Risk Management – one of the first community hospitals to do so.


  • The Health Centre opened an Urban Family Health Team at 27 Roncesvalles Avenue.
  • The Our Lady of Mercy Hospital is demolished.

2010 – 2020


  • The new four-storey Our Lady of Mercy wing opens on the former site of the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy wing. It provides new space for a variety of units including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Family Birthing Centre and senior services.


  • St. Joseph’s Health Centre, with Providence Healthcare and St. Michael’s Hospital, now operate under one corporate entity as of August 1, 2017. United, the three organizations serve patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education.

2020 – Current


  • St. Joseph’s receives new MRI scanner due to generous donation.
  • Glendale Wing is renamed the Gilgan Family Wing to honour $10M donation from Peter Gilgan.


  • St. Joseph’s Health Centre celebrates its 100th Anniversary!

2020 – 2025

  • Over the next five years, St. Joseph’s will work with its teams, patients and partners to make its community one of the healthiest in Canada. Read more about our exciting strategic plan by checking out this website or watching the video below.

Last updated April 19, 2021