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Our History

 Mount Sinai's first home at 100 Yorkville
 Mount Sinai's first home at 100 Yorkville.

In August of 1913, four immigrant women from Toronto’s Jewish community started knocking on neighbourhood doors to raise money for a hospital.

The Jewish immigrant population in Toronto was burgeoning; most of the new immigrants didn’t speak English and were afraid of large institutions.  And, sadly, not a hospital in the city would give Jewish doctors a place to practice.

It took them nine years, but by 1922, the Mrs. Cohn, Miller, Spiegel and Adler had raised $12,000, enough to buy a building at 100 Yorkville.

In 1923, The Hebrew Maternity and Convalescent Hospital opened its doors.

Much has changed about that hospital since it opened. The name became Mount Sinai Hospital and it moved locations several times. It grew from 30 beds to 472 and it became, in very short order, one of North America’s pre-eminent medical, teaching and research institutions.

It also developed a world-wide reputation for excellence in genetic research, women’s and infants’ health, surgical oncology, gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, general psychiatry, critical care and cardiology.

And it became so culturally inclusive that there are now interpreters for Mount Sinai patients in over 45 languages.

Yet much has also remained the same.

The vision, determination and selfless concern for the well-being of the community that characterized Mount Sinai’s beginnings still drive the Hospital today. Mount Sinai was always and will always be a place where Big Minds and Bright Hearts practice nothing but The Best Medicine.

Mount Sinai Firsts

Four immigrant women starting a hospital was certainly a first for Toronto, perhaps for the world, but that was only the first of many firsts for Mount Sinai Hospital.  

Here are just a few.

  • Mount Sinai was the first Canadian hospital to screen for osteoporosis and the first to use mammography machines. We were the first to find a way to detect and correct thyroid imbalance at birth, saving millions of children from developmental delays.
  • We established the first Breast Screening Study in the country; the first Bone and Tissue bank in the city.
  • Our scientists discovered how cells communicate with each other and also developed the first two human embryonic stem cell lines in Canada, two incredibly important advances in the progress of genomic medicine worldwide.

See a full history of Mount Sinai’s firsts »