Photos: Archives Canada ISN575095, Biomedical Communication Services (J. Balharrie), Glenbow Archives NA2903-40, Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal (N. Rajotte), Canadian Museum of Civilization (H. Foster) Photos: Archives Canada ISN575095, Biomedical Communication Services (J. Balharrie), Glenbow Archives NA2903-40, Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal (N. Rajotte), Canadian Museum of Civilization (H. Foster) Photos: Archives Canada ISN575095, Biomedical Communication Services (J. Balharrie), Glenbow Archives NA2903-40, Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal (N. Rajotte), Canadian Museum of Civilization (H. Foster) Photos: Archives Canada ISN575095, Biomedical Communication Services (J. Balharrie), Glenbow Archives NA2903-40, Hospitalières de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal (N. Rajotte), Canadian Museum of Civilization (H. Foster)
A Caring Profession: Centuries of Nursing in Canada - June 16, 2005 to September 4, 2006
Important Dates in Four Centuries of Nursing in Canada

1639 The Augustine Order of Dieppe, France, establishes Canada's first hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec.

1642 Jeanne Mance establishes Montréal's first Hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu.

1789 Marie-Angélique Viger (Soeur Saint-Martin) takes responsibility for the pharmacy of Hôtel-Dieu de Québec. She soon establishes an outstanding reputation for herbal cures.

1844 Four Sisters of Charity of Montréal (known as the Grey Nuns) begin an arduous 59-day journey by canoe and portage to the mission at St. Boniface, Manitoba to provide medical, religious and educational services to the Métis and settlers.

1869 The Sisters of Charity of Providence reveal their pharmaceutical secrets in Traité élémentaire de matière médicale, the first book of its kind in Canada.

1871 The Grey Nuns found St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, the first in the region. Between 1891 and 1916, they go on to found missions providing medical services in the areas now known as Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

1874 The first training school for nurses in Canada opens in St. Catharines, Ontario. Professionally trained nurses are now needed to assist with new therapies and surgical techniques, and improved patient care.

1885 Canadian civilian nurses serve in the Northwest Rebellion, caring for wounded soldiers in field hospitals in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

1897 The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) is established by the National Council of Women and its president, Lady Ishbel Gordon, Countess of Aberdeen and wife of the Governor General.

1898 Four VON nurses travel to Fort Selkirk in the Yukon to bring medical care to desperately ill prospectors in the Klondike.

1899-1902 Twelve Canadian nurses serve in the South African War, and are credited as lieutenants for pay and allowances.

1900 The Victorian Order of Nurses establishes outpost nursing stations in remote and rural areas of the country.

1904 The Canadian Army Medical Corps creates its own nursing service. Officer status has remained an important aspect of Canadian military nursing, with its own authority, responsibilities and privileges.

1908 The Canadian National Association of Trained Nurses is formed. It later becomes the Canadian Nurses Association, representing over 100,000 Registered Nurses in 11 provinces and territories.

1910 By 1910, 70 nursing schools had opened in Canada from Montréal to Medicine Hat, Alberta.

1914-1918 Canadian nurses embark on their first major military undertaking. Some 3,140 nurses use their skills on a large scale to deal with the devastating injuries Canadian soldiers suffer as a result of high-powered artillery, machine guns and poison gas attacks.

1917 Hundreds of VON nurses from across Canada come to Halifax to assist the thousands wounded by the explosion in Halifax Harbour when a munitions ship collides with another vessel.

1918 During the great influenza pandemic, which killed 30,000 Canadians, the VON sends out emergency calls to every one of its branches, which respond immediately. In Toronto, 16 nurses visit 900 patients in a single day.

1919 The University of British Columbia introduces a university degree programme in nursing, the first of its kind in the British Empire.

1920 The Canadian Red Cross establishes outpost nursing stations.

1920 The Newfoundland Outport Nursing Committee is formed. This Committee was the brainchild of Lady Constance Harris, the wife of Newfoundland's governor.

1922 Nurses win the legal right to use the term "Registered Nurse."

1922 The federal government sets up mobile nursing clinics to serve Aboriginal people in remote regions of the country.

1923 Public health nurses in Vancouver receive credit for their contribution when the city achieves the lowest mortality rate of any North American city.

1925 The University of Montreal, in conjunction with the Marguerite d'Youville Institute (Grey Nuns), found the first francophone nursing degree programme in the world.

1930 The federal government opens the first nursing station for Aboriginal people, on the Fisher River Reserve in Northern Manitoba.

1930s Quebec's lay nurses become the first in the country to form unions.

1939-1945 Nearly 4,500 Canadian nurses with the Army, Navy and Air Force serve overseas, often in field medical units just behind the front lines.

1947 The Grey Nuns write the groundbreaking Le soin des maladies for students in their university nursing programme.

1950 Canada experiences a shortage of nurses. As a result, nursing schools begin to recruit men and members of ethnic minorities. Hospitals begin to recruit married nurses to return to work, and trained nurses from the Caribbean, the Philippines and other countries.

1950-1951 Canadian Nursing Sisters serve in the Korean War. Between 1951 and 2004, Canadian Nursing Sisters also serve in Europe with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and in peacekeeping operations ranging from Egypt in 1956 to Haiti in 2004.

1970s Nurses in all provinces begin to turn to collective bargaining to achieve their aims.

1975 The Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada is founded.

1995 A nurses' training programme is created in the Northwest Territories to encourage northerners, many of them Aboriginal, to become nurses in their own communities.

2004 There are 84 bachelor's degree and nine doctoral nursing programmes in Canada.

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