II-105912.1 | Men's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894
Men's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894
Wm. Notman & Son
1894, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
In addition to their charitable functions, hospitals were playing an increasingly important social and economic role. Accelerated urbanization and industrialization demanded prompt medical attention and the speedy rehabilitation of ill or injured workers.
Many hospitals focused their efforts on emergency care. Work-related accidents were frequent, and far more men than women were treated. Fractures and wounds were daily fare, and the ophthalmology departments were kept busy extracting foreign objects from eyes.
Many destitute hospital patients were labourers, longshoremen and other manual workers who were out of work because of illness. The dual goal was to cure them and get them back on the job.
This Notman & Sons photo is not very cheerful. Although the patients enjoyed all the comforts of a newly opened facility, the ward is similar in many respects to those of other hospitals.
In the early 20th century, the public wards in most large Canadian hospitals were much the same as those of the previous decades. But differences between institutions were beginning to emerge. The well-funded Royal Victoria Hospital was finding it easier to keep up with medical advances.
Large city hospitals were growing fast in the early 1900s. However, new equipment was expensive, and the care provided in Montreal and Toronto was far more advanced than in Trois-Rivières or Hamilton.
Even in the large cities, hospital care was still mainly for the poor. The wealthy had lost some of their reluctance and the new technologies were appealing, but general public acceptance was yet to come.