My fictional character Hettie Steward worked at her hometown hospital, Royal Victoria, in the year between finishing nursing school and joining the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Even though the hospital plays a very small role in Angel of Mercy, its history gives us an interesting glimpse into medical care during the first part of the 20th century. (This post is a companion piece to my WWI Trilogy, Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year, available wherever eBooks are sold.)
Some facts about Royal Victoria:
- It was founded in Barrie, Ontario, in 1891 on Duckworth St. It was located in a cottage and had four beds. At the time it was called Barrie General Hospital.
- The hospital’s name was changed to Royal Victoria in 1897 when a 13-bed building was built on High Street.
- The hospital spent $37.87 monthly on staff salaries. Patients were charged $1.14 daily for their care.
- In 1902, the hospital moved to Ross St. after a 35-room building was built at a cost of $20,000.
- The following year, the hospital purchased its first x-ray machine.
The above photo is what Royal Victoria Hospital looked like in Hettie’s time.
Updated: 21 October 2020