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  • Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospita...
  • July 11, 2019

    Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital celebrates 120 years

    Over the last 120 years, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) has been dedicated to creating a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury.

    This history has included a constant commitment to integrating care and changing to meet the needs of the children of Ontario as those needs have evolved. Through the enormous change, the one constant has been the exceptional quality and innovative care for the children and families who have passed through its doors.

    “I love reflecting on our deep and fascinating history. Celebrating Holland Bloorview’s 120th anniversary offers the perfect opportunity to look back with gratitude to our founders and their foresight and see how far we’ve come,” says Julia Hanigsberg, President and CEO, Holland Bloorview. “Recognizing one’s history is important in growth. We take inspiration from the many advances of the past and appreciate what it took to build Holland Bloorview as we continue to expand, change, and meet the challenges of the future of healthcare, research and social justice for children and families.”

    Major milestones

    1899 - Twenty-two women, including 18 founding members of The Hospital for Sick Children, gathered to discuss the establishment of a facility dedicated solely to the care of children with chronic illness and physical disability. The self-dubbed “Ladies Committee” opened the Home for Incurable Children on December 16, 1899, with the readiness to accommodate 15 children. This was made possible thanks to public contributions/donations and a two-year rent-free agreement gifted by Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Cox for a home at 138 Avenue Road. This was the first iteration of what would eventually become Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

    1907 - Due to a growing need for care, a larger property was purchased at 152 Bloor Street East where 26 children could now live.

    1950-1962 - The Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre was created and in 1959. The name was changed to Bloorview Hospital, Home and School. As Bloorview Children’s Hospital, the organization moved to 350 Rumsey Road in 1962.

    During this time the hospital began to establish itself as a teaching institute and hired its first social service worker to begin providing aid to children and families.

    Blast from the past

    Holland Bloorview has always appealed to the public to support the unique work that we do. This promotional video for the Ontario Crippled Children Centre from 1951 provides a glimpse of what life at Holland Bloorview looked like in the 50s.

    1975 - Bloorview Children’s Hospital relocates to a larger facility. Located near Leslie and Sheppard this new location presented the opportunity for increased beds for younger inpatients as well as offering the children greater space for education all the way through secondary school.

    1982 - The Bloorview Nursery School opened, which integrated pre-schoolers with and without disabilities to play and learn together. This was a huge step towards breaking down the disability stigma and an early stepping stone instrumental in shaping the core values we have in place today. There are two operational sites in Toronto today.

    The Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre was renamed the Hugh MacMillan Medical Centre, after its first administrator whose progressive approach was an inspiration to all the parents and children who entered the facility.

    1989 – Holland Bloorview’s first Parent Advisory Committee is assembled, now known as the Family Advisory Committee (FAC).The FAC includes a group of devoted parents and youth that work directly with staff to promote family and client centered care across the hospital.

    1996 - The Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre and Bloorview Children’s Hospital merge under the name Bloorview MacMillan Centre, later becoming Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Centre. The Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Centre continued to operate in two locations until 2006.

    2002 – Holland Bloorview becomes officially affiliated with the University of Toronto, making it the only children’s rehabilitation teaching hospital in the country. 

    2004 – The Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) opened its doors, which is now Canada’s largest pediatric rehabilitation and continuing care teaching hospital. BRI is dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities through client and family centered rehabilitation research.

    2006 – The Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Centre moves into a brand new state-of-the-art and award-winning building at 150 Kilgour Road as Bloorview Kids Rehab.

    2010 – The hospital becomes Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in recognition of the transformational Holland family gift.

    2012 – The Client and Family Integrated Care program is established to support and improve client and family experience both in the hospital and in the community.

    2017 – As part of its goal to lead and model social change, the hospital launches “Dear Everybody,” a 5-year anti-stigma campaign designed to challenge and help end disability stigma for children and youth with disability.

    During this year, the hospital also co-founded the Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, consistent and coordinated approach to pediatric health care that is centred on children, youth and their families.

    2018 – Grow Holland Bloorview Research is launched -- a bold $25 million fundraising campaign to expand BRI.  This includes establishing a world-class, developmental neuroscience program, recruitment of additional scientific talent – resulting in the most significant concentration of childhood disability researchers in the world – and the acceleration of commercialization activity arising directly from research conducted within the BRI.

    Where we are now

    Today, Holland Bloorview creates a world of possibility by supporting children and youth living with disability, medical complexity, illness and injury. We are a top 40 Canadian research hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto serving over 8,300 families annually.

    Providing both inpatient and outpatient services, Holland Bloorview is renowned for its expertise in partnering with clients and families to provide exceptional care and is the only organization to ever achieve 100 per cent in two successive quality surveys by Accreditation Canada.

    We see over 2,300 unique diagnoses annually, including brain injury, cerebral palsy and developmental delay. A holistic approach is taken to assist young people in achieving their goals. This includes physical and cognitive development as well as life skills such as employment readiness, transitioning to adult services and friendship. Children and youth also have access to programming in music, arts, fitness, science and technology.

    Holland Bloorview and its volunteers, students and staff have won numerous awards for quality and care, research and innovation, client and family centred care, education and training, and environmental practices. We have 1,000 staff and over 1,000 volunteers supporting our work.  We’ve won several employment-related awards including Greater Toronto’s Top Employers, Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures.

    As articulated in our 2017-2022 No boundaries strategic plan, Holland Bloorview is guided by a goal to lead and model social change by eliminating stigma aimed at kids and youth living with disability. Our renewed vision is to create the most meaningful and healthy futures for all children, youth and families.

    Where we’re going

    Holland Bloorview has always pushed the boundaries of care for children living with disabilities and there are no plans to stop. Over the coming years, we will continue to elevate our mission and values outside of our walls. Our “Dear Everybody” campaign and Grow Holland Bloorview Research are just some examples of this work. 

    Without the vision of the Ladies Committee and all those who came after, the last 120 years would not have been possible. Thanks to our clients and generous donors, volunteers, staff, government and community partners, we continue to make a meaningful and impactful difference in the lives of the children we serve. We are excited for what the future holds and continuing our journey to create a world of possibility for children living with disability.