The Hospital for Sick Children

For the hospital in London, see Great Ormond Street Hospital. For the former hospital in Glasgow, see Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. For the hospital in Edinburgh, see Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh.
The Hospital for Sick Children

The Hospital for Sick Children from University Avenue
Location in Toronto
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates 43°39′26″N 79°23′19″W / 43.6571°N 79.3885°W / 43.6571; -79.3885Coordinates: 43°39′26″N 79°23′19″W / 43.6571°N 79.3885°W / 43.6571; -79.3885
Care system Public Medicare (Canada) (OHIP)
Funding Public hospital
Hospital type Specialist
Affiliated university University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Emergency department Level I pediatric trauma center
Helipad TC LID: CNW8
Beds 370
Speciality Children's Hospital
Founded 1875
Lists Hospitals in Canada

The Hospital for Sick Children, corporately branded as SickKids, is a children's hospital and teaching hospital located on University Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is affiliated with the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, and is the second-largest paediatric research hospital in the world, after the Boston Children's Hospital. The hospital's Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning is the largest pediatric research building in the world at 750,000 square feet.[1] Founded in 1875, the hospital was inspired by the example of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The hospital is located in the Discovery District of Downtown Toronto on University Avenue, adjacent to the Toronto General Hospital and across from Mount Sinai Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre—collectively forming a complex known as Hospital Row, each connected by underground tunnels and bridges. The hospital is known for its advertisement campaigns and the largest amounts of donations received for any Canadian hopsital.


Atrium of the Hospital for Sick Children, designed by Eberhard Zeidler.

Medical treatments at the hospital are covered by publicly funded health insurance, as is the case in all Canadian hospitals. Philanthropy is a critical source of funding for SickKids Hospital that is separate and distinct from government and granting agencies. In 2006/07, financial support from SickKids Foundation to the hospital totalled $72.1 million. The support went towards infrastructure and support for physicians, researchers and scientists who compete for national and international research grants. Next to government, SickKids Foundation is the largest funding agency in child health research, education and care in Canada. The Foundation maintains a fund, called the Herbie Fund, for patients not covered by Canadian health insurance. The fund was established in 1979 to provide for the treatment of Herbie Quiñones, a seven-month-old patient from Brooklyn, New York.


Victoria Hospital for Sick Children building (now housing Canadian Blood Services)
Hospital for Sick Children, c. 1915

During the spring of 1875, an eleven-room house was rented for $320 a year by a Toronto women's bible study group led by Elizabeth McMaster.[2] They set up six iron cots and "declared open a hospital 'for the admission and treatment of all sick children.'" Their first patient, a scalding victim named Maggie, came in on April 3. Forty-four patients were admitted to the Hospital in its first year of operation and sixty-seven others were treated in outpatient clinics.[3]

In 1876 the hospital moved to larger facilities. In 1891 the hospital moved from rented premises to a building constructed for it at College and Elizabeth streets where it would remain for sixty years. This old building, known as the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, is now the Toronto area headquarters of Canadian Blood Services. In 1951 the hospital moved to its present University Avenue location, on the grounds where Canadian-born movie star Mary Pickford's childhood home once stood.[3]

In 1972,[4] the hospital was equipped with a rooftop helipad (CNW8).[5] Today, it is one of two downtown Toronto hospitals with a helipad (the other being St. Michael's Hospital) and one of three in Toronto (the third being at Sunnybrook Hospital).

SickKids Hospital underwent a major expansion in 1993 with the construction of a glass-roofed atrium on the east side of the main building. In late 2008, the hospital underwent a major renovation in the emergency wing.

Contributions to medicine

The hospital was an early leader in the fields of food safety and nutrition. In 1908 a pasteurization facility for milk was established at the hospital, the first in Toronto, and 30 years before milk pasteurization became mandatory.[6] Researchers at the hospital invented the infant cereal, Pablum. The research that led to the discovery of insulin took place nearby at the University of Toronto and was soon applied at the hospital. Doctor Frederick Banting, one of the researchers, had served his internship at SickKids Hospital and went on to become an attending physician there. In 1963 William Thornton Mustard developed the Mustard surgical procedure used to help correct heart problems in blue baby syndrome.[6] In 1989, a team of researchers at the hospital discovered the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.[7]

See also


Braithwaite, Max (1974). Sick Kids: the story of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-1636-0. 


  1. Mariana Ionova (26 August, 2013), "Sick Kids honours donor Peter Gilgan for $40 million donation", The Toronto Star Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Dueck, Lorna (2016-03-16). "Doctor-assisted dying: Why religious conscience must be part of the debate". Globe and Mail.
  3. 1 2 "SickKids History". Hospital for Sick Children. 2005-12-15. Archived from the original on 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2006-09-14.
  4. "Opened first hospital rooftop heliport for emergency transfer of patients (1972)". Hospital for Sick Children. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  5. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 15 September 2016 to 0901Z 10 November 2016
  6. 1 2 Hospital - About SickKids - History and milestones - Milestones - 1951–1975, accessed 12 June 2015.
  7. Hospital - About SickKids - History and milestones - Milestones - 1976–2000, accessed 20 June 2015
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