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About Sickkids
About SickKids


Growing with the times

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is no longer just a Hospital. Its role and mission have evolved well beyond its initial commitment to treat those children who knocked on its doors.

With a staff that includes professionals from all disciplines of health care and research, SickKids has become one of the world’s largest and most respected paediatric academic health science centres. SickKids is now a place where patient care, research and education - our three cornerstones - play equal roles in improving the health of children.

Our size speaks volumes. Every year, approximately 15,000 children stay here in close to 400 beds; almost 300,000 visits are made to more than 100 clinics; emergency staff treat 50,000 children; and 13,000 operations are performed.

Our roots

SickKids has been a place of healing and hope since 1875, when a group of Toronto women led by Elizabeth McMaster rented an 11-room house in downtown Toronto for $320 a year, set up six iron cots and declared open

‘a hospital for the admission and treatment of all sick children.’ Its creed: No child shall knock in vain.

In that first year, 44 patients were admitted. Sixty- seven others were treated as outpatients.

Unmatched patient care

Excellent patient care has always been, and will always be, at the heart of SickKids. We are committed to providing children with the highest quality care and to developing new interventions and treatments so that children who come to Sick Kids continually experience the best results.

As we develop new ways of caring for the children who come to us, we start from the premise that families are the most important partners in the successful care of a child. That means including families in the care team at SickKids and working with community-based partners to support them when they return home.

Together with our Research Institute, SickKids works to evaluate and quickly translate new discoveries and the benefits of new technology to ensure children get the best care.

“Our one month old baby boy received amazing, incomparable treatment. Every day we thank God for the staff at SickKids who supported our son’s fight for life. Thankfully, our stay was short but the memory of the experience will remain forever.”

John and Karen Blakely, Parents of Adam

Cutting-edge research

The SickKids Research Institute, founded in 1954, is the largest hospital-based research facility in Canada and one of the largest in the world. Almost 1,000 people, led by some of the world’s top scientists, carry out research in a broad range of fields.

Our researchers focus on specific scientific disciplines, such as genetics and cell biology, and also on research that brings together scientists from different disciplines to work on specific clinical problems, such as cancer and heart disease.

We are committed to creating an integrated and collaborative work environment that allows scientists and clinicians to share ideas and results, encourages everybody at SickKids to engage in research that is relevant to their fields, and stimulates innovation throughout the organization. Our goal is to become the pre-eminent research enterprise for children’s health worldwide, continually generating new ideas and innovations for patient care.

Our scientists receive worldwide recognition for their discoveries and their contribution to global scientific knowledge. Some of our best-known discoveries include the identification of several disease-causing genes, such as those for cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Tay-Sachs disease.

Funding for research at SickKids comes from three main sources: government and disease-specific granting agencies, research contracts with companies in the private sector and SickKids Foundation.

Since its inception in 1972, the Foundation has provided almost $200 million towards research. This support, coupled with the strategic investments being made by corporate partners and individual donors, is what helps keep our research on the cutting-edge.

“What I enjoy most about my work is the integration of research and clinical work; the ability to take a question from bedside to lab and find a solution which gets back to patients.”

Dr. Chaim Roifman, Director, Immunology and Allergy Department

Preparing the next generation of child health leaders

Our success is not confined to our hospital. We have an obligation to pass on what we learn.

In this section you will find key historical milestones from SickKids' illustrious past as well as present milestones that have taken place in the last decade.