In 1899 the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada established one of their Cottage Hospitals in North Bay, and placed a VON Nurse in charge. The Cottage Hospitals at that time were styled and known as “The Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital” in commemoration of the life of Queen Victoria.
Due to the need for more adequate accommodation, a temporary hospital was opened in 1902, and in 1904 The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital was built on Klock Avenue, since renamed Algonquin Avenue.
The construction and equipment of this building was financed through a grant from the “Lady Minto Hospital Fund” which had been set up by the wife of Canada’s Governor-General at that time, under the jurisdiction of the Board of Governors of the Order.
The Hospital was governed by a local organization constituted in accordance with the Charter and Bylaws of the Victorian Order, and a Board of Managers.
Additional building took place in 1907, and a wing was added in 1910 which brought the accommodation to 46 beds and 10 bassinets for patient care.
On December 31, 1924 the Victorian Order severed its connection with the remaining Cottage Hospitals, and North Bay was one of these. This meant that from this time on the hospital would be entirely self-governing.
In 1931 by a special Act of Parliament, the City of North Bay was authorized to accept and hold the property and to operate and maintain the same as a Civic general hospital. The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital from then on was governed by the North Bay Hospital Commission, appointed by City Council.
The hospital served as a training school for nurses until 1933. The time came when the continued growth of the city and surrounding area made it necessary to ask the Government for permission to build a new modern 100-bed civic hospital, which was granted in 1949. The present site was chosen and the building of a new million dollar hospital got under way. The official opening of the “North Bay Civic Hospital” took place on Sunday, April 8, 1951.
In 1959 a firm of hospital consultants was engaged to make a further survey of our facilities and the projected requirements of the area.
Following receipt of their report and the approval of the various authorities concerned, construction began on March 16, 1965 on the $4,000,000 addition. The construction was completed in 1969, and the formal opening ceremony was held on December 11, 1968, when the Ontario Minister of Health, the Honourable M. B. Dymond, M.D., officiated.
An addition to the Emergency Department was completed and opened in July 9, 1991 in order to house a 12 bed observation unit.
The hospital operated with 193 beds until late 1991, at which time the severe financial constraints impacting on transfer payments necessitated the closure of 20 beds (16 surgical, 4 continuing care) and associated staff lay-offs. Nursing units were restructured to allow for long-term care to be consolidated on 4 West and the opening of a dedicated short-stay surgical unit. The implementation of innovative programs including pre-admission clinic, central booking, same day of surgery admission and estimated date of discharge allowed us to retain our surgical programs and respond well to the economic challenges.
Major initiatives in rationalization and shared services occurred in 1992, with the agreement to operate a single pediatrics inpatient unit at St. Joseph’s and unified chemotherapy clinic on 6 West at Civic. Further discussion with St. Joseph’s on amalgamation continued into 1993 covering areas such as ambulatory surgery, food services, occupational safety and the eventual objective of single governance of one acute care structure.
In 1995 St. Joseph’s General Hospital and the North Bay Civic Hospital consolidated to become the North Bay and District Hospital. In 1999 final directions of the Health Services Restructuring Commission recommends a new North Bay and District Hospital on a new site, which will involve the closure of the existing facilities. The functional planning for this new health centre was completed in 2000, with the design phase beginning in 2001.
In 2004, the North Bay and District Hospital Foundation raised $18.2M towards the community’s share for the new centre.
In April of 2011, the former North Bay General Hospital (NBGH) and Northeast Mental Health Centre (NEMHC) amalgamated to become the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Both former organizations have a long history in North Bay. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit our gift shop where copies of the history book titled “The Hospitals of North Bay-A History of Development” are available for purchase.