Medical breakthroughs and milestones

The Montreal Children's Hospital and its healthcare professionals have achieved many medical breakthroughs throughout the hospital's history. Read on to learn more about these achievements as well as some of the interesting milestones in the hospital's history.


1902- Committee of Organization of the Proposed Children's Memorial Hospital announces its intention to build a small hospital.

1904- First patient is admitted to the Children's Memorial Hospital (CMH) on Guy Street. 

1905- The Children's Memorial Hospital Training School for Nurses is founded. 

1909- Children's Memorial Hospital moves to Cedar Avenue. 

  • Typhoid fever epidemic causes acute shortage of hospital beds, leads to first expansion, and creation of isolation ward.



1916- Volunteer-run Social Services Department is established. 

1918- The great influenza epidemic generates need for an additional isolation ward.

1920- Children's Memorial Hospital is designated a teaching hospital of the McGill University Faculty of Medicine

1922- Dr. Alton Goldbloom, Montreal's first trained pediatrician, who went on to hold many positions at the Children's, co-founds the Canadian Pediatric Society. 

  • Dr. Jessie Boyd Scriver is one of five women to graduate from McGill medical school; she later becomes Montreal's first female pediatrician. She spent most of her career working at the Children's. 

1926- Department of Social Services is officially integrated into the hospital (a first for a children's hospital). 

1927-1934- New laboratory facilities in biochemistry, bacteriology, and pathology enable widespread expansion of research into children's diseases.



1931- Serious polio epidemic occurs, one of the worst in Canadian history.

1932- Another serious polio outbreak inspires the development of a respirator at the CMH.

1933- First Speech Therapy Clinic in a Canadian pediatric hospital is established at the CMH.

1936- First course in use of play activities for children hospitalized at the CMH is given to nurses and volunteers. 

1937- McGill University establishes a separate Department of Pediatrics.

1938- First operation in Canada to repair a congenital heart defect is performed at the CMH.

1946- First pediatric cardiac catheterization in Canada is performed at the CMH.

1949- CMH is first pediatric hospital in Canada to establish a Division of Medical Genetics.



1950- CMH is first pediatric hospital in Canada to establish a Psychiatry Department.

1951- First hospital-based clinic in Canada for patients with genetic disorders is inaugurated at the Children's.

1955- Hospital name is officially changed to The Montreal Children's Hospital. 

1956- Hospital moves from Cedar Avenue to Tupper Street in December. 

1958- First open-heart surgery on a child in Quebec is performed at the MCH.

1959- McGill-Montreal Children's Hospital Learning Centre opens, the first Canadian pediatric hospital-based centre for children with learning disorders.



1961- MCH establishes the first outpatient clinic in Canada specifically for adolescents. 

1965- Pediatric outreach program is begun in the Baffin area of what is now Nunavut.

1966- First therapeutic heart catheterization in Canada on a patient of any age is performed at the MCH.



1971- Pediatric Burn Unit is created at the MCH, the first in Quebec.

  • First pediatric nephrology program in Canada is founded.

1973- Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation is established.

1976- MCH is first hospital in Canada to establish a community pediatric research program.

1977- First CT scan in a pediatric setting in Canada is performed at the MCH.

1979- MCH institutes first intensive insulin management program in Canada for children with diabetes.



1980- First bone marrow transplant in a pediatric setting in Quebec is performed at the MCH. 

1985- First successful liver transplant to the youngest recipient ever in Canada is performed at the MCH, in collaboration with three other Montreal hospitals, under the Pediatric Conjoint Liver Transplant Program.

1986- First cochlear implant in a deaf child in Quebec is performed at the MCH.

  • First successful treatment of a Canadian child with Ondine's disease through implantation of a phrenic nerve pacemaker is carried out at the MCH.
  • MCH is first hospital in Canada to set up a hospital-wide multiculturalism program.
  • MCH is first pediatric hospital in Canada to open a comprehensive provincial centre for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the Jeremy Rill Centre.

1988- Heart transplant on the youngest recipient ever in Canada is performed at the MCH.

1989- First Neurotrauma Program in Quebec is created at the MCH.


1990- First bone-anchored hearing device in a child in Canada is inserted at the MCH.

1991- First living-donor pediatric kidney transplant program in Quebec is established at the MCH.

1993- MCH is first hospital in Quebec to develop a Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit.

  • MCH is designated a tertiary care Pediatric and Adolescent Trauma Centre for Quebec.
  • First successful infant renal transplant in Canada performed at The Children's.

1994- MCH becomes first pediatric hospital in Quebec to offer magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  • MCH is first pediatric hospital in Quebec to offer transesophageal echocardiography for young children.

1995- Gustav Levinschi Laboratory opens, the first pediatric voice and speech laboratory in Canada.

1996- Transcultural Psychiatry Clinic opens-first in Quebec.

  • MCH is first pediatric hospital in Quebec to create a Short-Stay Unit.

1997- MCH merges with the Royal Victoria (including Montreal Chest), Montreal Neurological and Montreal General hospitals to form the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).


2000- First Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Group is developed as part of an MUHC team.

  • MUHC team performs first delivery in Quebec of a baby using EXIT procedure (ex-utero intrapartum treatment) at The Montreal Children's Hospital. 

2002- Mechanical heart device (Berlin heart) is used successfully for the first time in Canada at the Montreal Children's Hospital as a bridge to transplant on the youngest patient ever in North America.

2004- The Montreal Children's Hospital celebrates its centennial.

2005- Insulin Pump Therapy Centre is established, the first of its kind in Canada.

  • The first hospital in North America to offer mini-med school devoted exclusively to pediatrics.

2007- The first hospital in the world to use Botox to help a newborn who was drowning in his own saliva.

  • The Montreal Children's Hospital is the first pediatric hospital in Canada to establish a program that underscores the link between literacy and health.
  • Dr. Nada Jabado discovers that pediatric brain tumours differ from adult brain tumours, a finding that will allow treatments to be designed specifically for children with glioblatomas-brain tumours, that are the leading cause of cancer-related mortality and morbidity in children. 

2008- Total Body Cooling Program is established. It is the first such program in Quebec.

2009- The first child to undergo brain surgery in the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC's new Pediatric Interventional Brain Suite, home to the first intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) in a Canadian pediatric hospital.

  • A five-month old baby, the youngest and smallest baby in Canada to do so, and one of only a few in the world, is able to go home with his own normally functioning heart after temporary support with a heart lung machine and an artificial heart.
  • The first hospital in Quebec to perform a distraction of the mid-facial skeleton for treatment of facial anomalies in syndromic patients.



  • The MCH and the Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Canada establish a joint national clinic to evaluate and treat children with congenital chest wall deformities, the first one of its kind in Canada, and one of only a few such centres in North America.
  • The first hospital in Quebec to perform a thoracoscopic repair of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia on a newborn.
  • The MCH NICU introduces High Frequency Jet Ventilation. This special ventilator is the only one of its kind in Quebec. It is combined with a conventional ventilator to help children with severe lung disease.






  • Researchers at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), at the Montreal Children's Hospital, have launched a study to compare data collected by wireless, wearable vital sign sensors with data collected by traditional wired electrodes. The Children's Smart Hospital project, conducted in conjunction with the Child Health and Human Development Program of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), is the first of its kind in Canada.