St Mary's celebrates 90 years of service to the community

Montreal, September 18, 2014 - St. Mary's Hospital Center (SMHC), an acute care general hospital, serving a culturally diverse community that comprises over 100 different languages including English and French, is proud of celebrating its 90 anniversary of serving the community!

From its beginning as a 45-bed institution formally established in the Shaughnessy House in downtown Montreal, (now the Canadian Centre for Architecture), St. Mary's has grown into a dynamic 271-bed hospital located on Lacombe Avenue in the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Borough. It offers primary and secondary care and is also a teaching hospital affiliated with McGill University.  
"The St. Mary’ Hospital celebrates 90 years of service to the community. Over the years, our dedicated staff provided high quality and compassionate care  to the members of our community. Thank you for your confidence, your support and generosity, "said Ralph Dadoun, SMHC Director General and CEO.

St. Mary’s has evolved into a university affiliated teaching hospital, playing a leading role in the areas of teaching and research. It is responsible for the training of a large cohort of undergraduate and post-graduate students in Medicine and the allied health disciplines. St. Mary’s also has a research centre whose mission is to support and conduct high quality clinical and health services research relevant to the patients and services provided by St. Mary's.

Below is a list of achievements during St. Mary's 90 years of existence. Contact us at 514 734-2665 if you would like to meet someone for an interview.

St. Mary's achievements over 90 years

St. Mary’s Hospital’s beginnings
St. Mary’s Hospital was established in 1924 in the Shaughnessy mansion on Rene Levesque (formerly Dorchester Boulevard), which is today, part of the Canadian Centre of Architecture.

St. Mary’s school of Nursing
St. Mary’s school of Nursing opened its doors in 1925 and trained 1,594 nurses over its 48 years of existence.

Dr. Donald Hingston
In January, 1930, Dr. Donald Hingston set out to raise one million dollars to build a hospital to serve Montreal’s Irish-Catholics. In spite of The Depression, the Irish community supported Hingston’s endeavors. In 1934, St. Mary’s took up residency  at its present location.

John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie attended the St. Mary's Hospital Ball, in 1958, when he was Senator of Massachusetts.

Metric System
On October 6, 1971, St. Mary's Hospital was the first hospital in Quebec to exclusively use the metric system. Sister Mary Melanie, executive director of the hospital, said: "In our scientific age, which sees the landing of men on the moon and other major technological achievements, it seems reasonable that we speak the language of science". At the time, most Canadian hospitals were using the Imperial system of weights and measures.

Lab Accreditation College of American Pathologists (CAP)
St. Mary's Hospital Center Department of Laboratories is the only hospital laboratory in Quebec that has been accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) since 1995. This level of accreditation advocates excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine, including the highest standards of inspection, quality control, proficiency testing and multiple levels of verification.

Ice storm
During the January 1998 ice storm, St. Mary’s hospital provided temporary shelter to 900 people and, with the help of volunteers, more than 2000 meals were served.

TV Film – 1999 Scenes filmed at SMHC
Scenes from the movie One Special Night with Julie Andrews and James Garner were shot at SMHC in 1999.

Fully automated chain labs
In 2003, SMHC laboratories were the first to operate a fully automated chain in Quebec. Outstanding performance with the introduction of such technology, both in terms of quality and efficiency, has been widely published internationally. Today, hundreds of laboratories across North America are equipped with such technology.

Practice Greenhealth Organization’s Environmental Excellence Award
In 2008, St. Mary's Hospital Center was the recipient of an Environmental Excellence Award: Making Medicine Mercury free. This prize is awarded by Practice Greenhealth Organization to health facilities in the U.S. and Canada who demonstrate a high level of ecological integrity.

First SMHC scientific colloquium
Did you know that the first scientific colloquium organized by St. Mary’s Hospital Center, in Septembre 2010, was about virtual wards which have become a reality in the United-Kingdom? For the occasion, international and local experts shared their perspectives on this promising innovation in community-based care, and discussed its potential here in Quebec. This colloquium was organized by Susan Law, PhD, VP Academic Affairs at SMHC.

Baby Friendly Hospital
In 2011, SMHC was the first hospital on the island of Montreal to obtain the “Baby Friendly Hospital” Accreditation. The “Baby Friendly Hospital” Initiative is an international program that focuses on ten conditions for successful breastfeeding, formulated in 1991 by UNICEF and WHO, as part of an international nutrition strategy.

In 2014, St. Mary’s Hospital Center was the first North American public hospital to offer advanced, blade-free cataract surgery technology. This technology, known as LenSx® is a femtosecond laser which is fully automated and customized to the patient allowing faster and more precise surgery.

Advanced Crew Medical System
In 2014, Researchers at St. Mary's Research Centre (SMRC) have developed a new technology that can be used in exploration- class space missions and to improve access to health care here on Earth called Advanced Crew Medical System (ACMS). In essence, the system is designed to provide the combined clinical expertise of the emergency room physician, the psychologist, the occupational therapist and the family physician.

St. Mary’s Hospital Center (SMHC) is a university affiliated, community hospital which serves a multicultural population.  It seeks to provide the highest level of safe patient and family focused care. St. Mary’s is an integral part of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS) McGill. For more information, visit
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For more information, contact:
Alex Fretier, Information Officer, or
Seeta Ramdass, Director of Communications & Public Relations, St. Mary’s Hospital Center
514 734-2665