This year, Providence is celebrating 125 years since our founding Sisters of Providence opened St. Paul’s Hospital, the 25-bed cottage that would pave the way for the world-class teaching, research and compassionate care found throughout all of our 17 sites. While we've grown a lot since 1894, our commitment to serving those most in need has remained constant.

Reflecting on the past 125 years is the perfect way to inspire our next 125 years, and beyond. Follow us along on Instagram and Facebook as we share our top 125 Stories for 125 Years.
1894

St. Paul’s Hospital, built by the Sisters of Providence, opens.

1910

The first graduating class of St. Paul's Nursing School.

1918

Surgery patients receiving cold ether often went into shock, so Sister Charles Spinola invents a machine that warms ether gas before it’s administered, making receiving anaesthesia more comfortable.

1946

Mount Saint Joseph Hospital opens.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vancouver Public Library

1947

Holy Family Hospital opens.

1959

Dr. Doris Kavanaugh-Grey is St. Paul's first female cardiologist, and serves as department head for 30 years.

1960

Dr. Harold Rice builds a heart-lung bypass machine, making open heart surgery possible at St. Paul’s.

1960

St. Paul's is the first hospital in Canada to computerize its laboratories. The technology, shown here in 1987, continues to revolutionize medicine.

1962

The most advanced X-Ray unit of the time is installed at St. Paul's.

1966

Canada’s first ICU opens at St. Paul’s.

1969

Youville Residence, home to 42 residents as well as a specialized mental health unit for older adults, opens.

1977

St. Paul’s opens the Pulmonary Research Laboratory with Drs. James Hogg and Peter Paré as principal investigators. Now known as the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI), it’s a worldclass research powerhouse.

1982

The UBC Division of Respiratory Medicine is the first university division to be located at St. Paul’s.

1983

St. Vincent’s: Brock Fahrni opens and becomes home to 148 residents, many of whom are armed forces veterans.

1984

St. Paul’s medical staff are among the first in Canada to attain their Fellowship in Emergency Medicine, enabling St. Paul’s to become one of the leading emergency departments in the country.

1985

St. Paul's is one of the first hospitals in Canada to open its doors to care for people with HIV/AIDS.

1991

St. Vincent’s: Langara, a complex long-term care facility, opens.

1991

Drs. Julio Montaner, John Ruedy, and Martin Schechter found the Canadian HIV Trials Network. A Canada-wide research partnership, it is committed to developing treatments, preventions, and a cure for HIV and related health conditions.

1994

The Providence Health Care Heart Centre opens at St. Paul’s. A unique resource in the province, it provides complete care for British Columbians with all kinds of heart disease.

1994

Holy Family Hospital builds Easy Street, a simulated community used by patients undergoing physical rehabilitation. It is the first of its kind in Western Canada.

1996

Dr. Julio Montaner develops highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), which renders HIV levels undetectable and therefore non-transmissable.

1998

Canada’s first provincial renal agency opens at St. Paul’s, with Dr. Adeera Levin appointed as director.

1998

CHÉOS, a multidisciplinary health research centre, is established.

2002

Dr. Anson Cheung successfully installs the first mechanical heart pump in Western Canada, enabling a patient in desperate need of a transplant to stay alive until a donor heart could be found, which was nearly a year later.

2005

PHC opens Providence Crosstown Clinic to care for patients suffering from opioid dependence.

2005

Dr. John Webb pioneers the TAVI procedure, allowing more than 250,000 people in over 40 countries to have heart valves replaced without open-heart surgery.

2005

Providence Health Care Research Institute (PHCRI), which finds solutions to questions that arise from PHC care settings, opens.

2007

The Inner City Youth program (now Foundry BC) opens. An innovative, one-stop integrated care centre for at-risk youth, Foundry now has seven centres across BC, with more on the way.

2008

St. Vincent’s: Honoria Conway, an assisted living care home for seniors who are able to make decisions on their own behalf, but require help with day-to-day activities, opens.

2009

The All Nations Sacred Space, used for Indigenous ceremonies and to treat members of the Indigenous community and others who are in spiritual distress, opens.

2010

The Providence Breast Centre at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital opens. It cares for about 20 per cent of breast cancer patients in all of BC.

2010

Angel’s Cradle, a safe place for a mother to leave her newborn baby if she feels that she cannot properly care for it, opens.

2013

St. John’s Hospice, the first community hospice on Vancouver’s West Side, opens.

2017

The BC Centre on Substance Use, a world-class research centre developing innovative, evidence based approaches to treating substance use, opens with Dr. Evan Wood appointed as director.

2017

The Rapid Access Addiction Clinic opens, changing the way this patient population receives treatment and care at St. Paul’s.

2018

Ranked first in Canada and second in the world for COPD research, Dr. Don Sin is appointed director of the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation.

2018

The HUB is launched at St. Paul’s. A first-of-its-kind health care model in Canada, it provides wraparound services to support mental health and substance use patients.

2018

St. Paul’s Renal Program completes a record 193 kidney transplants, making it the busiest program in all of Canada.

2018

PHC forms a partnership with First Nations Health Authority and commits to cultural safety and humility in our journey towards reconciliation.

2019

The business plan for the new St. Paul’s is approved. The new St. Paul’s is expected to open its doors in 2026.

This year, Providence is celebrating 125 years since our founding Sisters of Providence opened St. Paul’s Hospital, the 25-bed cottage that would pave the way for the world-class teaching, research and compassionate care found throughout all of our 17 sites. While we've grown a lot since 1894, our commitment to serving those most in need has remained constant.

Reflecting on the past 125 years is the perfect way to inspire our next 125 years, and beyond. Follow us along on Instagram and Facebook as we share our top 125 Stories for 125 Years.