MP-0000.3141 | Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, about 1875
Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, about 1875
James George Parks
about 1875, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
8 x 17 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
In the 19th century, general hospitals were rarely financed by the Canadian government. Income from hospitalization fees was negligible, since, although they paid room and board, private patients were few and far between.
As a result, Canadian hospitals turned to wealthy donors and religious communities to fund their charity work. Bequests of money, buildings, land, shares and annuities were all crucial to hospital operations and expansion.
Social and cultural benefit events were another way to meet the hospitals' financial and material needs. Considerable amounts were raised by means of fairs, bazaars, plays, concerts, sales and special outings. The businesses and tradesmen involved in these activities willingly reduced their prices to generate support. Lotteries and races were shunned, however, as being bad for a hospital's reputation.
As seen here, the Montreal General Hospital was fairly typical of 19th-century hospital architecture.
The Montreal General was located in the heart of the city. This made it handy not only for patients but also for medical students and their teachers.
In the 19th century, the large Canadian hospitals did not have architectural master plans. And despite attempts at harmonization, many were disfigured by the addition of new wings or pavilions.
The founders of the Montreal General Hospital incorporated the institution on January 30, 1823, under a French name: Hôpital général de Montréal. Its English name did not become official until 1910, by amendment to its charter.