St. Mary’s Marks 90th Anniversary with Drop-in Celebration October 21

October 15th, 2014


Tuesday October 21, 2014 marks 90 years to the day that St. Mary’s General Hospital opened its doors, beginning a legacy of compassionate, innovative care in the spirit of its founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton.In recognition of this important anniversary, St. Mary’s invites the community to celebrate with its staff, physicians and volunteers at a drop-in event.

Tuesday, October 21

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Heasley Hall (in the cafeteria)

Historical displays dating back to 1924

Light snacks and refreshments

Free admission and parking (to get free parking, guests must press the button at the exit gate and say “90th anniversary” when attendant answers)

St. Mary’s opened on October 21, 1924 with 122 beds, 20 bassinets, 12 volunteer sisters, 14 nursing students and about 12 local doctors. In its first year, the hospital cared for 380 patients, delivered 69 babies, performed 429 operations and treated 64 emergency cases.

Today, St. Mary’s has 150 beds, nearly 2,000 staff, and physicians, and nearly 400 volunteers. Annually, there are about 7,000 admissions, about 47,000 emergency department visits and more than 20,000 surgical procedures.

“Thanks to the strong foundation laid by the Sisters, our staff, physicians and volunteers continue to provide high quality care with dignity and respect for our patients and families,” says President Don Shilton. “We are grateful to our community for its loyal support and we remain committed to our Vision – to become the safest and most effective hospital in Canada.”

St. Mary’s serves a population of more than 850,000 in Waterloo Wellington, and Grey, Bruce and Perth counties. In 2013 it celebrated 10 years as a regional cardiac care centre and in 2014 marks 10 years of thoracic and respiratory excellence. St. Mary’s has become a provincial and national leader in patient safety, as well as access to life-saving cardiac procedures, and real time emergency department wait time reporting.


See attached backgrounder. For more information, contact:

Anne Kelly Communications Specialist

519-749-6578, ext. 1501

226-339-1903 (mobile)



1916 What is now 911 Queen’s Boulevard was purchased by the Sisters of St. Joseph for $8,500. It was at the end of a dirt road on the outskirts of Kitchener.

1923 Construction starts on St. Mary’s with the help of $150,000 raised by the community.

1924 October 21, St. Mary’s opens a three-storey building under the direction of Sister Mary Bonaventure Halloran. Also in 1924St. Mary’s School of Nursing opens with 12 students. By 1974 when the last class graduated, St. Mary’s had trained about 1,200 nurses.

1960 Construction began on a $5.5 million 10-storey tower, tripling the size of the hospital to 354 beds, expanding services and adding a new emergency department.

1989 Obstetrics was transferred to Grand River Hospital, ending an era at St. Mary’s which saw 130,000 babies born.

1996 Fears that St. Mary’s might close due to hospital provincial hospital restructuring sparked a grass roots campaign. More than 100,000 people signed a Save St. Mary’s petition and business leaders successfully lobbied the government for badly needed services.

2003 Full cardiac services begin at St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre, including heart surgery and angioplasty.

2008 New 100,000 square foot addition opens with $10 million in community support. Included is new clinical and support service space, state of the art operating rooms and enhanced outpatient areas.

2013 Cardiac Centre celebrates 10th anniversary, plans for construction of new Arrhythmia Program.

2014 St. Mary’s celebrates 10 years of Thoracic and Respiratory Excellence, as well as the 90th anniversary of the hospital.