Bayview Campus: 75 Years of History

On June 12, 1948, Sunnybrook’s Bayview Campus first opened its doors as a Military Hospital with a mandate to care for the heroic men and women who served our country during World War II. As we celebrate 75 years of past achievements, we also look ahead with excitement and anticipation for the future. The legacy of Sunnybrook is not only defined by our remarkable history but also by how we are inventing the future.

Please enjoy this interactive look back at the growth of the Bayview Campus.

Note: Adjust the vertical slider to compare the before/after photos.


Bayview then Bayview now

Sod was first turned on the hospital site on the 25th anniversary of Armistice Day - November 11, 1943. The lead architect pushed back against the wishes of the government of the time to build it much higher, as this would delay the completion of critical hospital units and require more building materials and skilled labour than were available during wartime. The Invasion of Europe was already planned at this point, so it was a race against time to have a Veterans facility.

Campus (from Cenotaph)

M-wing from Cenotaph then M-wing from Cenotaph now

Between the power plant and the Neuropsychiatric Wing are structures specifically designed to house the Prosthetic Services' factory, among other facilities. Due to its success in this area, the federal government transferred its prosthetics unit to Sunnybrook in 1982 to provide prosthetics to war amputees.


Courtyard then Courtyard now

The main mass of yellow brick structure comprises four chief blocks. Hospital wings are named in "Ypres", "Ortona", and "Falaise" to honour the Royal Canadian Army, "Atlantic" to honour the Royal Canadian Navy, and "Lancaster" and "Spitfire" to honour the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Emergency Department

Emergency Department then Emergency Department now

The late 1960s were a time of transformation at Sunnybrook, as major renovations were undertaken to convert the hospital for acute care purposes. These renovations included clinical areas such as emergency, radiology, family practice, nursing units and service areas.

Harrison Hall (front)

Harrison Hall then Harrison Hall now

Sunnybrook was transferred by the Government of Canada to the University of Toronto in 1966 for a silver dollar, officially becoming a teaching hospital and serving the general public as well as Veterans. Today Sunnybrook is one of Canada’s premier academic health sciences centres, hosting approximately 3,400 learners in 45 health disciplines from 66 countries.

Harrison Hall (rear)

Harrison Hall then Harrison Hall now

In 1992, the Sunnybrook site was developed as a semi-autonomous campus of the University of Toronto and welcomed its first intake of undergraduate medical students to the “Sunnybrook Academy.” Two years later, Sunnybrook established the Peters-Boyd Academy of the University of Toronto to provide a focus for undergraduate medical education, including community agencies and partner institutions.

H-wing entrance

H-wing entrance then H-wing entrance now

Since the first graduating class of 11 nurses at Sunnybrook in 1952, that number has grown to more than 2,300 nurses providing specialized care for patients in their time of greatest need: from premature newborns to trauma and critical care, musculoskeletal, oncology, psychiatry, dementia, cardiac and stroke patients, to the war Veterans living at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre.


Chapel then Chapel now

The Sunnybrook Chapel was completed in 1950, with the largest room being used for Roman Catholic mass and Protestant Interdenominational services. A synagogue was built to accommodate Jewish veterans and patients in 1995, and a Muslim prayer room was added in the mid-1990s.

C-Breeze Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons then Tim Hortons now

Since the first 100 patients were transferred to the Sunnybrook Military Hospital in 1946, Sunnybrook’s expertise has grown to care for more than 1.3 million patients annually across three campuses. At the Bayview campus alone, there are seven food courts and restaurants to serve patients, visitors and staff

Current photography by Kevin Van Paassen