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The St. Michael's Story


photo of Drs. Mark Peterson, Chris Buller and Neil Fam
Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mark Peterson (left to right) and cardiologists Drs. Chris Buller and Neil Fam performed Canada's first mitral valve-in-valve procedure that allows cardiac patients to go home the next day instead of staying in hospital for up to 10 days. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

photo of tour development team holding shovels at the ground-breaking event for our new patient-care tower
Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins was on hand as St. Michael’s Hospital broke ground for a redevelopment project that will include a new 17-storey patient care tower to care for critically ill patients and renovations that will nearly double the size of the Emergency Department.

photo of Terrence Donnelly (left), Dr. Lee Errett and Dr. Robert Howard
Terrence Donnelly (left), Dr. Lee Errett and Dr. Robert Howard unveil the commemorative plaque in the newly renamed Donnelly Wing.

photo of Li Ka-shing, between Dalton McGuinty and Dr. Howard
A transformative gift from Hong Kong entrepreneur and philanthropist Li Ka-shing has created a world-class institute at St Michael's Hospital that will benefit people around the world by combining groundbreaking medical research, education and patient care.

photo of Dr. Howard talking with Patrick and Barbara Keenan
The Keenan Research Centre, named for long-time hospital donors and philanthropists Patrick and Barbara Keenan, became home to more than 400 research staff and 92 principal investigators.

photo of Queen Elizabeth II at St. Michael's Hospital
Queen Elizabeth II visited St. Michael's Hospital during a Canadian tour in Oct. 1984. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of the first muscle transplant in North America
In 1976, the first muscle transplant in North America was performed at St. Michael's. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of Dr. Clare Baker
The first successful heart transplant in Canada was carried out by a team at St. Michael's in 1968. They were led by Dr. Clare Baker, pictured here. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of three dietetic interns posing on the hospital's roof
In 1936, St. Michael's opened the first dietetic internship program in Canada approved by the Canadian Dietetic Association. Featured here are three dietetic interns posing on the hospital's roof, 1951. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of Sister Mary Paul Biss
Sister Mary Paul Biss was the founder and first director of the St. Michael's Hospital School for Medical Record Librarians. When the school opened here in 1936, it was the first of its kind in Canada. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of Dr. Edmund E. King
Dr. Edmund E. King, a St. Michael's physician, was the first in Toronto to use an x-ray apparatus in 1896. The first x-ray machine was installed at St. Michael's in 1912. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of The first graduating class of the St. Michael's Hospital School of Nursing, 1894
The first graduating class of the St. Michael's Hospital School of Nursing, 1894. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)

photo of St. Michael's as it appeared in 1892
St. Michael's as it appeared in 1892 - the year of its founding. (St. Michael's Hospital Archives)










  • St. Michael's Hospital enters into landmark agreement with King Saud University to provide research opportunities to help speed the transfer of medical discoveries from the laboratory bench to patient bedsides.
  • Jeff Lozon steps down as President and CEO of St. Michael's Hospital after more than 17 years. Dr. Robert Howard is subsequently named CEO of St. Michael's and becomes the first physician CEO to hold the post.
  • The Applied Health Research Centre opens at St. Michael's to improve patient care through clinical research.
  • Former president Jeff Lozon and Dr. James Orbinski are appointed to the Order of Canada.


  • Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre performs the first myomectomy in Canada - the surgical removal of a uterine tumour - without damage to the uterus using a surgical robot.


  • The hospital performs the first endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) procedure in Toronto to treat a potentially fatal aneurysm of both the chest and abdomen.
  • St. Michael's acquires an advanced robotics system to treat patients with prostate cancer and women with complex gynecologic conditions.


  • St. Michael's Dr. Robert Chisholm performs a North American first by implanting an antibody coated stent into a cardiac patient. The stent was developed by Dr. Michael Kutryk of St. Michael's.
  • The Robert McRae Heart Health Centre - a state of the art cardiac care outpatient clinic, opens at the hospital
  • St. Michael's Hospital's Dr. Peter Vadas identifies key factors causing fatal reactions to peanut allergies.
  • St. Michael's Hospital welcomes the National Film Board of Canada and the Filmmaker in Residence project. A two-year residency where experts in film and photography come together with frontline doctors, nurses and researchers of Canada's foremost inner city hospital to create media for social change.


  • The Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation makes the single largest gift to St. Michael's to date - a $25 million donation to establish the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. The state of the art facility, scheduled to open in 2010, will house the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Centre in Health Care Education.
  • Toronto businessman Patrick Keenan and his wife Barbara make a $13 million donation for the Keenan Research Centre. The donation brings the couple's cumulative contributions to the Hospital's research practice to more than $25 million.
  • St. Michael's develops a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) training program in the trans-disciplinary approach to the Health of Marginalized Populations, a first in North America.
  • St. Michael's embarks on its first international surgical eye-care mission to the Philippines.
  • World first gene therapy trial for Pulmonary Hypertension begins.


  • The Fracture Clinic opens a one-stop shop for orthopedic care.


  • The Centre for Global Health Research, led by Dr. Prabhat Jha, founding director of the centre and Canada Research Chair of Health and Development, University of Toronto, begins a prospective study of six million people in India of mortality from various causes in relation to smoking, alcohol use, indoor air pollution, water and sanitation and fertility. The study is the largest of its kind in the world and is funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH).
  • St. Michael's cardiologist Dr. Michael Kutryk, implants the first antibody-coated coronary stent at the University Hospital Rotterdam in Holland.
  • The Terence Donnelly Day Surgery Centre
  • St. Michael's opens its rooftop helipad to allow critically ill or injured patients to be transferred quickly by air ambulance, maximizing their chance for survival.


  • St. Michael's Hospital hosts the First International Conference on Inner City Health Research


  • St. Michael's becomes the first hospital in Canada to perform an endoscopy procedure using a camera capsule.
  • A lithotripsy unit, used to treat kidney and lower ureteral stones, opens at St. Michael's. It is only one of two regional centres in Ontario.


  • Surgeons at St. Michael's perform Ontario's first live-donor kidney retrieval using minimally-invasive surgery.
  • The Martin Family Arthritis Care and Research Centre opens - a "one-stop shop" to provide integrated care for arthritis patients and foster innovation in mobility research.
  • The hospital opens a brand-new, state-of-the-art emergency department to meet the many needs of a growing city.


  • The Rotary Club of Toronto partners with the hospital to open the Transition Centre, a unique facility for Emergency department patients who are homeless or under housed.


  • St. Michael's merges with the Wellesley Central Hospital in what is to be one of the most successful hospital mergers in Canadian history.
  • Dr. Marcus Burstein performs the first-ever Artificial Bowel Sphincter implantation procedure for fecal incontinence in Canada.
  • The Vascular Biology lab, part of the Terrence Donnelly Heart Centre, opens with state-of-the-art equipment for advanced cardiovascular research, including cardiac gene therapy.
  • St. Michael's opens a respirology unit, providing care for a diverse range of respiratory disorders, including highly-specialized expertise in cystic fibrosis and tuberculosis.


  • St. Michael's celebrates its 100th anniversary
  • Jeff Lozon is appointed president of St. Michael's


  • St. Michael's neurosurgeon Dr. Alan Hudson and plastic surgeon Dr. Susan MacKinnon perform the world's first sciatic nerve transplant.


  • St. Michael's becomes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)s investigational centre for pacemakers.
  • The hospital is designated to prepare the medical team for Pope John Paul II's visit.


  • The hospital becomes the first in Canada to use the ultrasound technique to see and treat the human embryo.


  • The hospital performs its 100th kidney transplant.


  • St. Michael's performs the first muscle transplant in North America.


  • Dr. Leo Mahoney establishes the Breast Centre at St. Michael's to improve the quality of life and treatment for women with breast disease and breast cancer.


  • Renal transplantation begins at St. Michael's.


  • Dr. Clare Baker leads to a cardiac team of 30 specialists to perform the first successful heart transplant in Canada. Recipient Charles Perrin Johnston lived six years, the longest time for any heart transplant recipient in the world at that time.


  • Toronto's first Haemodialysis Centre opens at the hospital.


  • St. Michael's becomes one of the first hospitals in Ontario to perform open heart surgery.


  • Catheterization laboratory opens at St. Michael's to allow doctors to diagnose and treat heart conditions using catheters instead of surgery.


  • Fenestration, an artificial opening made in the bony part of the inner ear so as to improve or restore hearing, is first performed in Canada at the hospital by Dr. Joseph Sullivan.


  • The first school for medical record librarians in Canada is established at the hospital.
  • St. Michael's becomes the first hospital in the country approved to train dietitians.


  • St. Michael's becomes formally affiliated with the University of Toronto.


  • The hospital becomes one of the first in Toronto to use a spinal anaesthetic, introduced by Dr. Frank O'Leary.


  • St. Michael's installs one of the first electrocardiograph machines in Canada to detect and diagnosis heart abnormalities.


  • St. Michael's installs one of the first X-ray machines in Toronto.


  • Dr. Pearl Smith becomes the first woman intern at St. Michael's.


  • St. Michael's Nursing School graduates its first class of seven nurses.


  • St. Michael's Hospital opens in what was once a Baptist Church on Bond Street.
  • St. Michael's Hospital opens the first Catholic Nursing School in Canada.