Women's College Hospital Foundation - Our History

Our History

Women’s College Hospital was founded over 100 years ago to give women a place to study and practice medicine when no one else would let them in. Our legacy of innovation and leadership speaks volumes about our commitment to pioneering new healthcare solutions for women and their families. 

Women’s College Hospital is proud to preserve and showcase our fascinating history and legacy of innovation at The Miss Margaret Robins Archives.

WCH’s Archives are open to the public and free to access. You can arrange to view the Archives or schedule a tour by contacting:

Heather Sobolewski
WCH Archivist
416-323-6400 x 4076, heather.sobolewski@wchospital.ca

  • 1883
    Outraged that women were shut out of medicine, Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada's first woman doctor, founded Woman's Medical College, run by and for women.
  • 1911
    The first hospitcal, located at 18 Seaton Street, opened with seven inpatient beds.
  • 1915
    Women's College Hospital and Dispensary was officially opened at 125 Rusholme Road.
  • 1948
    Ontario's first cancer detection clinic for "well women" was opened; WCH pioneered the practice of screening healthy women for early signs of cancer.
  • 1961
    WCH became a fully accredited teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. That required a contentious by-law change allowing male physicians to become full-time medical staff.
  • 1963
    WCH became the first hospital in Ontario to use mammography as a diagnostic tool to detect breast cancer.
  • 1971
    WCH opened its Perinatal Intensive Care Unit, the first in Canada. Also opened, was the Family Practice Health Centre. It was the largest in Toronto at the time, and remains one of the largest today.
  • 1973
    WCH opened The Bay Centre for Birth Control. Dr. Marion Powell (known as the “Mother of Birth Control in Canada”) became its director in 1981.
  • 1996
    WCH opened its cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program designed exclusively for women, the first in Canada.
  • 2006
    WCH began operating independently under the Public Hospitals Act.
  • 2007
    WCH began planning for its new home with a $555 million capital redevelopment project. In 2013, the first phase of the new hospital opened.
  • 2015
    WCH awaits full completion of the capital redevelopment project with the opening of its second phase in the fall of 2015.
back to top