The history of acute healthcare in Northwestern Ontario and the development of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a tribute to the residents of the community and this region. Volunteers and donors, generous with their time and resources, established a strong foundation for future generations.
In 1995, Thunder Bay's McKellar General Hospital, which opened in 1903, and Port Arthur General Hospital, which opened in 1909, merged to become the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, providing acute care for Northwestern Ontario.
Although the province originally planned to refurbish one of the sites, the community rallied behind the idea of building a new, modern healthcare facility.
In a bold decision based on a plebiscite, the citizens of Thunder Bay voted to develop a new facility rather than refurbish an existing older hospital.
The end result was a contemporary health sciences centre that offers patients, visitors and staff a more comfortable, welcoming environment. This facility attracted a lot of attention for its design when it first opened and even now, 10 years later, TBRHSC still receives accolades for its design, and was recently ranked sixth on a list of the world's 30 most architecturally impressive hospitals.
On February 22, 2004, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre opened, combining the services of McKellar and Port Arthur General Hospitals and Cancer Care services.
The grand opening was a very emotional time – it signaled the start of a new era for healthcare in Northwestern Ontario.
Those involved in the planning, the construction, and the move were so proud to see this dream become a reality. We also understood that it was only the beginning.
We could not have imagined the future opportunities and benefits to patient care that would result.
With a new acute care facility, we were also looking ahead to the opening of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and, later, the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.
None of our milestones from the past 10 years, including the opening of this state-of-the-art facility, would have been possible without the generous individuals, groups and businesses throughout the region, and all of our academic, healthcare and government partners.
From the first patients to receive care in this facility, to the first medical students to begin training here and the launch of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, there are so many milestones that have been achieved in the short span of 10 years.
Be sure to visit www.tbrhsc.net/10years to see the 10-year timeline and milestones.
As it was said in 2004, this is just the beginning.
We look forward to seeing what we will achieve together in the next 10 years.