A Short History of Mount St. Mary Hospital

Mount St. Mary Hospital was founded by the Sisters of St. Ann who first arrived in the gold rush boomtown of Victoria in 1858 and immediately immersed themselves in the education of local children, the care of the sick and the laying out of the dead, regardless of colour, creed or nationality.  From these beginnings there was a natural progression to opening St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1876 and a School of Nursing in 1900.  In the ensuing century the Sisters also operated five other hospitals in British Columbia.

Mount St. Mary also flowed from these beginnings, opening as an annex to St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1941.  Located at the corner of Burdett and Vancouver, it was meant to be a home for “the aged and incurables.”  Patients were admitted from the Marpole Infirmary in Vancouver and private patients were accommodated as well.  Despite war time deprivations the hospital was able to provide for the residents by practicing economies itself but also through the generosity of many local benefactors.  To this day the Hospital can count on the community’s support.


In 1965 Mount St. Mary became an extended care hospital for patients needing skilled 24 hour a day nursing services and medical supervision but not in need of acute care.  Though the building was soon inadequate it wasn’t until the turn of the century that it became imperative to provide a new facility.  When the Sisters of St. Ann gave St. Joseph’s Hospital to the people of southern Vancouver Island in 1972, with remarkable foresight they stipulated that the property be used in perpetuity for health care.  Thus it came about that through lengthy negotiations between the Sisters and various governing bodies the building of a new “Mount” was approved on the site of the former school of nursing at the corner of Fairfield and Quadra and a new model of multi-dimensional care was designed.  Officially opened in March 2003, the hospital and its staff maintain the values of caring and compassionate care begun by the Sisters.

The history of Mount St. Mary came full circle in November 2012 when fourteen Sisters of St. Ann in need of complex care services transferred from St. Ann’s Residence upon its closure, and moved in as residents.  Here they reside on the site where their tradition of compassionate health care is deeply rooted.

For the full story of the Sisters of St. Ann in Health Care in BC (Click here)