The Montreal Children’s Hospital Site
Due to the distinctive population it serves, pediatric medicine has its own unique approach to disease.
The Children's Memorial Hospital had very humble origins in a small house on Guy Street at a time when pediatric medicine was a new specialty. Despite some political resistance to opening yet another hospital in Montreal, the Children's Memorial Hospital of Montreal (CMH) was founded in 1904 under the direction of Dr. MacKenzie Forbes as a service for the handicapped child. Dr. Forbes, a professor of orthopedic surgery at McGill University, hoped it would grow to become a general children's hospital. The first patients were treated within the Guy Street house and, in the summer, in tents at a neighbouring garden.
Dr. Forbes and the excellent caregivers who followed in his footsteps proved critics wrong by establishing a strong and important tradition of specialized children's care in Montreal. The CMH soon expanded with a move to Cedar Avenue in 1909. In 1920, the hospital became a university teaching hospital, affiliated with McGill University.
The demands for specialized children's care were growing, and the CMH responded by expanding its inpatient and outpatient clinic facilities. In 1956, the Children's Memorial Hospital changed its name to the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH), and moved to its present location on Tupper Street. The new location had twice the bed capacity of its predecessor.
Today, the Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre remains affiliated with McGill University. It provides undergraduate and postgraduate students with world-class pediatric training. The accomplishments of the 30-year-old McGill University-Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute are recognized worldwide, especially in the fields of genetics, oncology and epidemiology.
For over four decades, the MCH, through its McGill University Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute, has been at the forefront of children's care. Although the hospital is engaged in a wide variety of activities at various stages of development, its main focus is on certain key areas that are central to its mission. These include:
- Specialized surgery, particularly cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, transplantation and reconstructive surgery
- Specialized medical care, with a focus on multidisciplinary care
- Care of critically ill infants and children
- Assessment and short-term management of children with atypical development
The Montreal Children's Hospital boasts a proud history of firsts, including:
- the first department of medical genetics in a Canadian pediatric hospital (1950)
- the first children's psychiatric department (1950)
- the first centre for children's learning disorders (1960)
- the first therapeutic heart catheterization in Canada—a life-saving procedure to create a hole within the heart of a "blue baby" (1966)
- the first pediatric burn unit in a Quebec hospital (1971)
- the first short stay unit in a pediatric hospital in Quebec (1996)
See MUHC Research Firsts for other notable medical breakthroughs.
Through its extensive range of services, which includes intensive care, surgery, injury prevention and home-based care programs, the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC remains a valuable asset to the Montreal community. The hospital has one of the highest volumes of pediatric ambulatory cases in North America. Its staff is culturally diverse, representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and speaking as many as 50 languages and dialects.