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About the Institute


Our commitment to improving the health of children is demonstrated by our legacy of historical milestones and important research discoveries. Just a few of these milestones are listed below. To see a full list, click on the link to the milestone pages at the left.

2001 - Present - SickKids researchers have made many significant discoveries and advances in child health: stem cell research, discovering genetic and molecular causes of disease, development and differentiation of the immune system, development of novel therapies and interventions, new breakthroughs in brain development and function, and understanding the risk factors for prenatal health.

1976 - 2000 – Transplantation milestones include Canada's first bone marrow transplant program (1976), SickKids first heart transplant (1990) and the first North America's first Paediatric Academic Multi-organ Transplant Program (1998). Rapid advancements take place in genetics, with the discovery of genes and gene mutations responsible for various diseases including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (1988), Tay-Sachs disease (1988), cystic fibrosis (1989), Fanconi's Anemia (1992), Wilson disease (1993) and Lafora disease (1998).

1951 - 1975 – An important period for research at SickKids, culminating in the formal establishment of the Research Institute in 1954. Surgical breakthroughs include the first innominate osteotomy (1957), development of the “Mustard Procedure” for the heart (1963), the first successful separation of conjoined twins (1971), and the first kidney transplant from a living donor (1973). SickKids Foundation is established (1972).

1926 - 1950 - SickKids nutritional research leads to new levels of worldwide child nutritional possibilities following the development of Pablum cereal, Sunwheat Biscuits and enriched bread (1930). SickKids manufactures more than 30 iron lungs to respond to the polio epidemic in Ontario (1937).

1901 - 1925 – An early novel standard in food safety for Canada is established at SickKids when the milk pasteurization program is created (1908), well-baby clinics are started (1914) and the first SickKids research laboratory is opened (1918). Dr. Frederick Banting, along with Dr. Charles Best, discover insulin (1921) and within two years a program for treatment of children with diabetes is established at SickKids (1923).

1875 - 1900 - The Hospital for Sick Children is established by Elizabeth McMaster in downtown Toronto (1875). It is the second paediatric hospital in all of the British Empire. The School of Nursing is started (1886) and the first school for children in a hospital is opened, with one teacher on staff (1892).