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History & Photo Timeline

Sunnybrook evolved from its origin as Canada's largest veterans hospital into an internationally recognized health sciences centre, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto as a teaching hospital.

The following are some of the significant dates in Sunnybrook's history:

1928 - Sunnybrook Park


Alice M. Kilgour donates Sunnybrook Farm to the City of Toronto in memory of her husband Joseph Kilgour for use as a public park, to be known as Sunnybrook Park.

11 November 1943 - Sod Turning Ceremony

With the consent of the Kilgour heirs, 400 hectares of Sunnybrook Park, with the western boundary at Bayview Avenue, was transferred to the Government of Canada as the site for a new hospital for Canadian veterans.

Esther Bailey

Pictured is Mrs. Esther Bailey, holding her five-year-old daughter, Kathleen, at the sod turning ceremony for the new Sunnybrook Hospital on November 11, 1943.  Esther's husband, staff Sgt. Frank Bailey was killed on July 6, 1940 in a German bombing raid on a Canadian military camp in England.  The camp's commanding officer informed Mrs. Bailey that her husband had become the first member of Canada's Active Army to lose his life in the war through enemy action.

26 September 1946 - First patients transfer to Sunnybrook

first Sunnybrook patients

Pt Raymond Scott becomes the first patient to enter the Sunnybrook Military Hospital.  He is part of a group of 100 patients transferred from the Christie Street Hospital.  Patients lived in D-Wing, named Lancaster, named after the Bomber aircraft used in the Second World War.

30 January 1947

The Red Cross Lodge opens at Sunnybrook.  The Lodge was staffed by Canadian Red Cross Society volunteers who provided services and recreational activities until 2000.

12 June 1948 - Official Opening

Prime Minister King

Sunnybrook Military Hospital is officially opened by the Right Honourable W.L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada. 

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.

13 October 1951

HRH Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip visit Sunnybrook.


first class of nursing students

The first graduating class of nursing students at Sunnybrook receive their nursing caps.

30 June 1959

HRH Queen Elizabeth II visits Sunnybrook.

1 October 1966

transfer of Sunnybrook to University of Toronto

The Government of Canada transfers the administration of Sunnybrook to the University of Toronto for the cost of one silver dollar. Legislation titled The Sunnybrook Hospital Act officially changes the name of Sunnybrook Military Hospital to Sunnybrook Hospital. It becomes fully affiliated with the University of Toronto as a teaching hospital, serving the needs of both the veterans and general public.


new Sunnybrook Medical Centre sign

Sunnybrook Hospital becomes Sunnybrook Medical Centre.


Sunnybrook Medical Centre establishes Canada's first regional trauma unit to care for patients sustaining life-threatening multiple injuries.

Sunnybrook establishes Canada's first Stroke Care Unit.

The Kilgour Wing (K-Wing) officially opens as the new residence for Canadian veterans at Sunnybrook.

29 May 1977

Dame Vera Lynn visits the veterans at K-Wing.


The Neuro-Doppler Laboratory at Sunnybrook was one of the first fully accredited cerebrovascular laboratories in Canada and one of the first ten centres in North America where transcranial Doppler was used. It is a great resource for training stroke and neurology experts from across North America and around the world.

The lab has seen giants in the field of stroke get their training here, including Dr. John Norris (the visionary who started the Neuro-Doppler Laboratory), Dr. Andrei Alexandrov (director of the University of Texas - Houston Medical School STAT neurosonology service) and Dr. Roberta Bondar (who learned the techniques here for application in space).


Sunnybrook Medical Centre opens the Toronto-Bayview Regional Cancer Centre, an arm of the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. Since 2007 it has been known as the Odette Cancer Centre.


Sunnybrook Medical Centre establishes a regional cardiovascular surgery and angioplasty centre now known as the Schulich Heart Centre.

By the early 1990s, Sunnybrook has established seven major program priorities: Hurvitz Brain Sciences; Holland Musculoskeletal Program; Odette Cancer Centre; Schulich Heart Centre; Trauma, Emergency and Critical Care; Veterans and Community; and Women and Babies. The Hospital is renamed Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to recognize the importance of teaching and research excellence. This academic strength helps Sunnybrook provide the highest quality patient care. 


Sunnybrook begins providing chronic care services to the community, building on the chronic and nursing home care program provided to veterans.

The George Hees Wing (L-Wing) officially opens and provides additional residential and health care services for veterans.


Sunnybrook opens major research facilities to house the rapid growth of research on campus.

22 January 1992

Roberta Bondar

Dr. Roberta Bondar serves as a payload specialist on STS-42 Space Shuttle Discovery. Canada's first female astronaut studied the body's ability to recover from exposure to space.


Sunnybrook establishes the Boyd Academy of the University of Toronto to provide a focus for undergraduate medical education, including community agencies and partner institutions.


Canada's largest centre for the treatment and care of burn injury, the Ross Tilley Burn Unit opens at Sunnybrook.

M-Wing officially opens.

24 June 1998

The Government of Ontario's Bill 51 merges Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Orthopaedic and Arthritic Hospital and Women's College Hospital to create Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre.

1 April 2006

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Women's College Hospital end their amalgamation.

The Toronto Orthopaedic and Arthritis Hospital changes its name to the Holland Centre.

The Sunnybrook Branch of the Toronto Public Library celebrates 60 years at Sunnybrook.

12 September 2010

Canada's largest gynaecological and obstetrics unit, the Women & Babies Program at Sunnybrook, opens.


Operation Raise a Flag

Sunnybrook launches the Operation Raise a Flag campaign to honour and support Canadian veterans. Proceeds from the campaign will go to the Veterans Comfort Fund at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre. This fund provides veteran residents with things such as innovative equipment and computers, community outings, continued learning opportunities and musical instruments all in an effort to enable veterans to attain the best possible life experience while at Sunnybrook.

1 July 2012

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. John's Rehab Hospital voluntarily merge to create a more seamless continuum of health care from acute injury or illness, through to rehabilitation and recovery.

17 November 2012

H.R.H. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands visited Sunnybrook Veterans Centre.