1890: male and female attendants provided daily care for
the patients. There was one attendant for every 10 patients.
1897: a nurse was hired to care for physically sick patients
in the Hospital’s infirmary.
1918: first occupational therapy activities. A carpentry
workroom was set up for the exclusive use of ex-WW1 soldiers
who were patients.
1920: a “vocational instructress” was hired
to teach basket weaving.
Mid-1920s: over 400 occupational therapy classes were given
in handicrafts, with an average attendance of 50 patients
per class. A group of articles were sent to the Canadian
National Exhibition in Toronto, where ten prizes were received
one year for excellent work. The department also sold occupational
therapy items at the T. Eaton Co. Store.
1936: first female physician
1937: first director of nursing
Early 1940’s: the Hospital’s first rigorous
research project: assessing the value of blood for transfusion
after storage, for use in the battlefield by the Canadian
1942: many staff left for war duty. The Hospital relied
on patient volunteers as never before to run an institution
of 1,479 patients.
1945: first psychologist
Postwar rise in profile of psychiatry: Psychiatrists were
increasingly recognized during World War II for treating
and rehabilitating service personnel with emotional disorders.
This gave psychiatry a great boost as a profession.
1946: first chaplain. Church services of various denominations
continued to be held on Sundays in Douglas Hall. The addition
of a chaplain, however, allowed individual patients to
be visited and receive personalized spiritual guidance.
1947: first long-term social worker. A social worker had
been hired in 1926, but left soon after and was not replaced
for over twenty years.
1957: personnel department created
1957: male and female nursing staff unified under one director
(before that, the male nurses reported to the chief attendant
and the female nurses to the director of nursing)
In 1958, the first Long Service Award Dinner was held to
honour staff who had worked at the Hospital for a number
of years. At the first dinner, 19 staff were awarded for
15 years of service and 7 for 25 years of service. The
Douglas family, after whom the Hospital is named, traditionally
honoured the award-winners by providing cocktails for the
1962: public relations department created
1970: audio-visual department created