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Historical Archives

Collage of historical images from Sunnybrook, including its construction, the opening address by Prime Minister Mackenzie King, and the Queen Mum greeting a patient

Sunnybrook from the Archives

Look back in time and view images from Sunnybrook's past through this online exhibit.

When members of Canada's military returned from battle during the Second World War, their medical and health-care needs began to surpass the ability of the existing military hospitals to provide care.

In 1943, the Department of Veteran Affairs commissioned the architectural firm of Allward and Guinlock to build Canada's largest centre for veterans' health.

Hugh Allward, senior architect during the construction of the hospital, was the son of Walter Allward, Canada's greatest sculptor of monumental art and the sculptor of the Vimy Ridge Monument in France. George W. Guinlock was the son of George H, Guinlock, the architect of the Canadian National Exhibition.

The first patient was transferred from the Christie Street Hospital and was admitted to Sunnybrook on September 26, 1946.

On June 12, 1948, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King announced the official opening of Canada's largest veteran's hospital.

In his address King said, "Sunnybrook Hospital symbolizes sacrifices made by those members of the armed forces whom this hospital aims to serve, and seeks to honour..."

    Listen to a CBC radio report from June 1948, about the opening of Sunnybrook:

    Since 1948, Sunnybrook has evolved from its original role as Canada's largest veterans care hospital into an internationally recognized centre for excellence in health care, education and research.

    Today approximately 11,000 staff, physicians, volunteers and students are inventing the future of health care. Their work and dedication has improved the lives of the 1.3 million people who come through the hospital doors each year.

    Sunnybrook Archives identifies, acquires, preserves and provides access to non-patient records of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

    These records document the historical development of the hospital including its predecessor bodies, Sunnybrook Medical Centre, and Sunnybrook Military Hospital and the achievements of its staff.

    Our archives also include historically significant records of the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding its administration of Sunnybrook Hospital from 1948-1966.