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The history of Montreal city and of its health network dates back in 1645, with the erection of the very first hospital from North America, which was baptized ‘l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal’ (= Montreal’s Hostel of God) and bears this name even now.

This hospital was originally built in old Montreal, on Boyer street, being subsequently transferred a few steps from Mont-Royal, on Pins Avenue, in 1859. Please note that this hospital, built entirely from wood and measuring 60 feet in length and 24 feet in width, had a kitchen, a room where Mrs. Jeanne Mance was living and some other enclosures meant for the sick people and the care providers. This hospital did not resemble much the one we know nowadays, but at that time it enabled patient reception and adequate care provision.

The year 1821 saw the erection of one of Montreal’s biggest hospitals, namely l'Hôpital Général de Montréal (Montreal General Hospital). This health facility is school education- and research-oriented and is especially famous for specialized health care for a wide range of patients. It is associated to the Medicine School attached to McGill University.

There are five more other hospital centers attached to the McGill academic center : L'Hôpital Royal Victoria (Victoria Royal Hospital), l'Hôpital de Montréal pour Enfants (Montreal’s Hospital for Children), l'Institut Thoracique de Montréal (Montreal’s Thoracic Institute), l'Hôpital de Lachine (Lachine Hospital) and l'Hôpital Neurologique de Montréal (Montreal’s Neurological Hospital).

In 1880, on July 27th, to be more exact, l'Hôpital Notre-Dame (the Notre-Dame Hospital) saw the light of the day in order to meet certain specific needs of the Montreal clients from this part of the city.

Then l'Hôpital Sacré-Coeur de Montréal (Montreal’s Sacré-Cœur Hospital) was built in 1898. It is one of the most important ones within Quebec; it is specialized in continuous school education, cooperating closely with the Medicine School within the French University (Université de Montréal)

Before the ‘60s, for the State the field of health was almost inexistent in Quebec. At present, the government only takes care of the most deprived people, leaving the private sector room to carry out its activities. So, there is no protection scheme that could provide, free of charge, health services for each citizen of the province.

Since the ‘60s, the province of Quebec has been involving itself more in providing public health care to the population. The year 1961 represents the beginning of the hospitalization insurance, then ten years later, in 1971, the project of health insurance as we know it at present was set on going.

The year 1995 saw the implementation of the CHUM (Centre Hospitalier de L’Université de Montréal) mega-project, which included the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Notre-Dame and Saint-Luc hospitals. This project, whose anchoring point is Montreal’s downtown, seems to take a longer time than expected for seeing the light of the day and the project responsible people seem not to get to a consensus with the governmental bodies. There are various ongoing litigations on certain major stakes, which affect the global project evolution and make the population doubt about its actual implementation. What the future will do for this ambitious project yet wished for by the metropolis thus remains to be seen.

In 2005, a verdict of the Supreme Court strengthened the power of the private sector, which had been longing to develop itself and to spread out its activity realm in Quebec for a very long time already. This turn was closely related to the long waiting lists from the Quebec hospitals (belonging to the public sector) and pertained to measures of helping patients get urgent treatments within more reasonable time frames.