Dalhousie University

About Us
History of the Department

The Department of Pediatrics is one of the oldest academic pediatric centres in Canada, with a long history of excellence in patient care, education and research. The following pages walk through the creation of the Department of Pediatrics in 1909, up to the present and the Department of Pediatrics’ and IWK Health Centre's continual growth.

1. The First Childrens Hospital - 1909
2. A Physician-in-Chief is Appointed
3. The Izaak Walton Killam Hospital is born
4. The IWK Health Centre Today

The First Children's Hospital - 1909

The history of the development of Pediatrics as a specialty antedated the establishment of the Department of Pediatrics in Dalhousie's Faculty of Medicine. During the first few years of the 20th Century a small group of men and women, encouraged by a few interested physicians, fostered the idea of establishing a children's hospital in Halifax.

The committee began to collect money toward this objective, beginning with donations that ranged from a few pennies upward. A number of social events - concerts, balls etc. were held, as the first "Kermesse" (a French word noting a country fair) to raise money, and by 1907 a total of $6,000 had been raised. During that year, a committee meeting was held at the home of Mrs. James Morrow and a check for $10,000 was given to the group as a Christmas present by the late Mr. F.D. Corbett.

This gift enabled the beginning of construction of the Children's Hospital, which opened its doors in 1909.

In the beginning there were no private beds and the surgical and medical staff gave their services without charge. The building was expanded in 1919, increasing the bed capacity to 50. This was further expanded to accommodate 90 patients in 1931, and finally to 217 beds in 1955.



Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine Pediatrics Department