St. Michael’s Hospital was started in 1892 in what had been a Baptist Church on Bond Street. The Sisters of St. Joseph . were operating a boarding house for working women there when the hard-pressed Medical Officer of Health asked for their help to handle a diphtheria epidemic, which was sweeping Toronto. The Sisters responded positively and started St. Michael’s Hospital. The hospital began with a bed capacity of 26 and a staff complement of six doctors and four graduate nurses. Within a year of its opening, accommodation was increased to two large wards and an emergency department. By 1912, bed capacity reached 300 and a five-room operating suite was added. St. Michael’s Hospital had been accepting medical students from 1894, so in 1920 it negotiated a formal agreement with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto that continues to this day.
Between 1892 and 1974 St. Michael’s School of Nursing graduated 81 classes of nurses, totalling 5,177 graduates. The School was closed in 1974 when nursing education was moved into the community college system. In 1968, Drs. Clare Baker and James Yao and a cardiac team of 30 specialists performed the first successful heart transplant in Canada. The recipient lived six years, the longest time for any heart transplant recipient in the world at that time. St. Michael’s Hospital has many other firsts. Renovations to St. Michael’s Hospital Victoria wing were started in 1999. In 1998, it was integrate with the Wellesley Central Hospital, as ordered by the Province. Since it was established 109 years ago, St. Michael’s Hospital has been a key part of the Toronto medical community.
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