II-105910 | Children's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894

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Children's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894
Wm. Notman & Son
1894, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

The earliest period of medical specialization dates to the late 19th century. In addition to the clinics already operating in the 1860s, hospitals established ophthalmology, ear-nose-throat, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics and "medical electricity" departments.

When people went to make appointments or to seek outpatient care, they saw an array of new and often strange instruments not found in their doctor's private office. This equipment helped to change the negative perception of hospitals. Some departments were not always able to meet the demand, but it took a while for the pediatrics clinics to overcome parents' reluctance to take their children to hospital.

This was not the case everywhere. The pediatrics department at the Royal Victoria Hospital, which opened in 1905, was very popular.

  • What

    From the outset, the Royal Victoria Hospital reserved a small ward for sick children. Pediatrics medicine was just beginning then. Rocking chairs and little game tables provided entertainment for the children.

  • Where

    After some years of operating this small ward, the Royal Victoria Hospital opened a pediatrics department in 1905.

  • When

    Hospital care for children began in the 1870s with the inauguration of the Morland Pavilion at the Montreal General Hospital. Subsequently, most large Canadian hospitals opened a pediatrics department.

  • Who

    Children received little specialized care before the end of the 19th century, in part because parents were reluctant to see them hospitalized. Like adults, children were segregated, those from poor families in wards and those from rich families in private rooms.