Hotel Dieu Hospital marks 175 years with ‘visible and virtual’ events

Photo by Lucas Mulder.

The Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site of Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is marking 175 years serving the Kingston community.

According to a media release from KHSC dated Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in September 1845, a notice started appearing in the Kingston Chronicle and Gazette stating that “The Hotel Dieu” on Brock Street was now open “for the reception of persons requiring Medical or Surgical assistance” with a single daily visiting hour from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This September—175 years later—those doors remain open, said KHSC in the release, as the Hotel Dieu Hospital marks a milestone anniversary of caring for our community with a unique and enduring blend of compassion, social justice and excellence in health care.

The mission of caring for body, mind and spirit was carried here by four Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph in 1845, called to tend the needs of the sick, homeless and orphaned, according to the release. Their faith-based mission remained steadfast through epidemics, cramped quarters, tight budgets and more, sustaining the Sisters as they expanded HDH from five row houses on Brock Street to the academic centre for acute outpatient care that now occupies a full city block in downtown Kingston. 

According to the release, the mission always reached beyond physical walls, translating into programs that served Indigenous peoples, persons struggling with substance abuse and people seeking shelter, food and clothing.  

“It is widely recognized that Catholic hospitals bring something special to health care,” says Dr. David Pichora, KHSC President & CEO.  “Their legacy of service to vulnerable and marginalized people is critical because those are the people coming to all hospitals for health care.  That service has always been at the core of Hotel Dieu and it is why the Sisters built it from nothing to what we have today.”

“It is a real privilege to celebrate this strong vision and mission,” Pichora continued. “It is a rich legacy that lives on in Kingston Health Sciences Centre and that will help us to meet the challenges of the next 175 years.” 

In the interest of the health and safety of the community in the current COVID-19 environment, no in-person launch event or large gatherings are planned for the 175th anniversary, read the release.  Instead, visible and virtual celebrations will be bringing Hotel Dieu Hospital and the community together throughout the coming weeks, in particular:

  • a two-storey high celebratory banner on the HDH Brock Street façade
  • a City of Kingston Proclamation recognizing September 2020 as the 175th anniversary of the Sisters’ arrival and the founding of Hotel Dieu Hospital Kingston
  • social media postings of videos, photos and stories with the community invited to join the celebration via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #HotelDieu175
  • an online memory book, where the public can share greetings, memories and personal HDH history
  • a 175th website featuring testimonials, HDH history, archival photos and more.

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