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Sacré-Coeur Hospital


By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca


On June 1, 1898, the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, a group of women founded a small hospital in downtown Montreal to care for a dozen ill individuals deemed “incurable”.

They named it Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal.


Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal - 1924
Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal – 1924

In 1902, the administration of the hospital was entrusted to the Sisters of Providence, a religious congregation, founded in 1843 by Émilie Gamelin and a new building with 375 beds was built on Décarie Blvd in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, which became known as the Hôpital des Incurables.

In March 1923, a large fire destroyed the hospital.


A new building had to be built and architects Dalbé Viau and Alphonse Venne were given the contract to design and build a new hospital on Gouin Boulevard in Cartierville.

Construction started in 1924. The first patients were admitted to the new hospital in 1926. The administration also decided to call it by its original name in 1898 – Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal. The hospital initially focused on the treatment of tuberculosis and was considered a sanatorium. It became an important teaching hospital for pulmonary illness, but with the advent of antibiotics and a reduction of tuberculosis patients, HSCM diversified.

Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal - 2015                (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)
Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal – 2015 (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)

In 1931 Dr. Édouard Samson set up an orthopedics department, which under his direction became the largest training center for orthopedic surgery in Canada. In 1933, Dr. Norman Bethune started a pulmonary surgery and bronchoscopy service and founded the first Department of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Bethune published many articles in medical journals to introduce new surgical techniques and, believing that contemporary surgical instruments were poorly designed, he invented or modified more than a dozen new surgical tools. His most famous instrument was the Bethune Rib Shears, which still remains in use today.


In 1954 HSCM became a general hospital. In 1955, with the blessing of Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger, the hospital opened the first medical department: obstetrics.1970 was a year of many changes, the trauma department, an emergency room and a plastic surgery department were opened. Other medical services were added, including nephrology, nuclear medicine and an intensive care unit.


In 1973, the HSCM became affiliated with the Université de Montréal to teach medicine and health sciences to students in a hospital setting. During that same year, the Albert-Prévost Institute merged with the now ultraspecialized hospital center to become a pavilion dedicated to patients who required psychiatric care.


In 2008, the hospital had 554 beds and employed over 450 professionals among a staff of over 3,800 employees including more than 1000 nurses. Over 20 000 hospitalizations are made each year by doctors, specialists, internal and external students.

It also offers two libraries: Norman Bethune and Library Albert-Prévost.


The Sacre-Coeur Hospital is located at 5400 Gouin Boulevard W,

Montréal (Burrough Ahuntsic / Cartierville)

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