14. Verdun Hospital

 The Verdun Hospital, formerly called the Christ-Roy Hospital, opened on May 1, 1932. In the forties, this hospital acquired a reputation for its excellence and was highly regarded by Verdun residents.  

It was during an epidemic of smallpox in the province of Québec that the will to build a hospital in Verdun was first sparked. Between 1880 and 1889, the provincial government set up a board of health to deal with the smallpox epidemic that was plaguing the entire province of Québec. All municipal authorities in the province were then obliged to form a health bureau in their community. On August 27, 1885, Verdun's Council set up the first health bureau and launched a mandatory smallpox vaccination campaign. The existence of this first temporary hospital was short-lived, however, as on October 26, 1885 (2 months later), it was shut down and Verdunites with smallpox were admitted to hospitals in Montréal. 

Despite certain measures adopted by the municipality, accessibility to health care remained the major problem at the beginning of the 20th century. During the 1920s, Verdunites had to go to hospitals in Montréal for general health care. Mgr. Richard, parish priest, spearheaded a campaign to build a hospital in Verdun. On April 2, 1928, the land located along boulevard LaSalle, between rue Hickson and rue de l’Église, was purchased for $47,000. Alphonse Venne was hired to draw up the plans. The question of who would manage the new hospital gave rise to big differences of opinion between English- and French-speaking Verdunites: on the one hand, the prominent English residents were calling for a bilingual, public establishment, while the French were demanding a Catholic institution instead. Under Mgr. Richard, the Catholics got their way, as the hospital, from its very first years, was placed under Catholic control.  Thanks to various municipal and provincial grants, Christ-Roy Hospital opened on May 1, 1932. The construction of the 160-bed building cost $538,000. As soon as it opened, the Sisters of Providence of Montréal looked after the internal management of the Verdun Hospital, where 105 nurses and nuns worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for a salary of $30 per month. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Verdun benefited from the best health services in the province.  In January 1950, the hospital became officially affiliated with the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Medicine. On April 17, 1974, the Québec government assumed responsibility for the Verdun Hospital's general organization.