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Our Story

The corner stone of the Grace Hospital was laid in 1927. Nearly a century later, BC Women's continues the tradition of excellence in maternity care but has a broader mandate to serve women in BC.

Milestones and Memories

1927 - The Grace Hospital was officially opened at the corner of Heather Street and 26th Avenue in Vancouver, with 50 beds and bassinets on October 2, 1927. 

1943 - Grace Hospital supported more than 1,000 births for the first time (1,117 in total).

1957 - The first set of triplets was born at Grace. 

1960 - Grace reached a total of 50,000 births.

1977 - During its 50th Anniversary, Grace Hospital reached 100,000 births.

1982 - In April 2, the official opening of the new Grace Hospital was held on the Oak Street site. Facilities included 120 adult beds, 94 bassinets and 15 delivery suites. It was established as the centre for tertiary obstetrical care for BC

1982 - Became the first hospital in Canada to have midwives providing care.

1987 - Grace set the record with 8,235 deliveries and established itself as the busiest maternity hospital in Canada.

1989 - The Grace Hospital Foundation was established.

1992 - The "Centre for Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment" was opened by Health Minister Elizabeth Cull, Premier Mike Harcourt, and Mayor Gordon Campbell. The Centre became a "one stop" service for a variety of prenatal services.

1992 - In April, the Women's Health Centre was opened as part of the University Hospital - Shaughnessy site.

1993 - In April, the Neonatal Care Nursery opened providing incubator/bassinet space for 10 premature, underweight, and/or infected babies. It cared for more than 1,100 babies a year.

1993 - In February, the University Hospital - Shaughnessy site closure was announced. Grace Hospital continued to operate, reaching 200,000 births in August 27. 

1994 - In February, the Salvation Army officially handed over responsibility for the hospital to the BC government that established an interim board of management. 

1994 - March 31, British Columbia's Women's Hospital and Health Centre Society formed, joining the hospital with the Women's Health Centre. 

1996 - The British Columbia Consortium for Women’s Health was granted an award to develop a Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health. Funded by Health Canada and led by BC Women’s, the consortium brought together organizations and institutions across the province with a common interest of improving the health of all BC women. 

1996 - With the goal of reducing the wait for diagnosis after an abnormal mammogram, the Breast Health Program was opened at BC Women’s in November 1996 in partnership with the BC Cancer. The median wait for diagnosis has decreased from nine weeks to nine days. 

2000 - The 250,000th baby was born at BC Women’s, marking a major milestone. 

2001 - The Provincial Health Services Authority was established to plan, manage and evaluate selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to meet local and regional needs. Part of this role involves operating health care programs, including BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, that focus on specialty health care services for the entire province. 

2003 - The Nelly Auersperg Award was established through BC Women’s to honor the work of Dr. Nelly Auersperg, who is one of Canada’s foremost cell biologists. The award supports research that will directly assist women and provide important new information about women’s health care. 

2003 - BC Women’s launched the Advanced Maternity Fellowship for Rural Practitioners as part of its provincial mandate to provide competent maternity care to all families in the province. The Fellowship provides physicians, nurses, midwives and other allied health care providers with training and education in advanced maternity skills. 

2004 - Advancing the Health of Girls and Women in British Columbia: A Provincial Women’s Health Strategy is released. The plan offers a 10-year collaborative, women-centred approach to address three priority areas: women’s health monitoring and surveillance; maternity care; and mental health and addiction. 

2004 - BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and Vancouver Coastal Health launched the South Community Birth Program. It is the only program of its kind in Canada, bringing registered midwives, family physicians, doulas, and nurses together for the first time to provide a cohesive, supportive network of care for low-risk pregnant women. 

2005 - Construction on the new Single Room Maternity Care unit was completed, with the addition of nine new single maternity care rooms to those on the existing Cedar ward. Moms labour, birth, recover and care for their new babies together with dad or other family members in those priceless first hours of life. The provincial government provided $2.5 million, and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre Foundation provided $1.1 million.

2005 - BC Women's began leading Provincial Specialized Perinatal Services, BC's first province-wide initiative bringing all regional health authorities together to improve planning and delivery of these vital services and to address common challenges. This partnership helps BC's hospitals grow their capacity to meet the needs of their region and standardizes models of care.

2005 - BC Women’s established the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) to enhance and galvanize the impact of women's health research conducted at BC Women's and throughout BC. The WHRI is one of the few institutes in Canada with a specialized focus of improving the health of girls and women. Its aim is to create change in the health care system and offer leadership in women's health research to improve our understanding and treatment of disease and injury among women.

2006 - BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre awarded Accreditation with Exemplary Standing – the highest quality standing in Canada from Accreditation Canada, the national body that evaluates hospitals.

2006 - The Asian Women’s Health Clinic, where all staff speak Cantonese or Mandarin, took up permanent residence at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. The clinic is a partnership program with Vancouver Coastal Health, SUCCESS, and BC Women’s. The clinic addresses cultural and linguistic barriers that often prevent Chinese-speaking women from receiving basic care.

2006 - The UBC Centre for Reproductive Health moved into its new home on site at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. The UBC Centre provides comprehensive fertility services for women and couples, including treatments for issues like polycystic ovary syndrome, abnormal menstruation, endometriosis, pelvic pain, and male infertility.

2006 - The Continence Clinic at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary. The clinic provides treatment for women of all ages who are experiencing bladder or bowel control problems. Continence issues affect about 1.5 million Canadians.

2007 - The Reproductive Mental Health program at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre moved into its new home, a new $19-million mental health building at the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Oak Street Campus. The program provides comprehensive assessment, treatment and follow-up for women with mental health concerns associated with their reproductive cycle.

2007 - BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre received the Kroeger College Award for Management from Carleton University’s Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs for maintaining a high level of quality care. The Management Award honours those who have demonstrated excellence in management in program design and implementation, service improvement, social or commercial marketing, organizational strategy, or the effective management of human resources.

2008 - Based on the recommendation from the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee—including medical experts from BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre—the provincial newborn screening program for metabolic disorders is being expanded. Newborns will be screened for 19 disorders (up from six). Screening newborns means earlier detection of treatable disorders and prevention of lifelong health problems. The expansion is being phased in, with full implementation expected by 2010.

2008 - BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre was designated a Baby-Friendly Hospital by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. BC Women’s is the largest specialized hospital in Canada to be designated. The designation recognizes the commitment of BC Women’s to enabling mothers to breastfeed their newborns. More than 85 per cent of the 7,500 babies born each year at BC Women’s are being breastfed by the time they are ready to go home.

2008 - The Fir Square Combined Care Unit program at BC Women’s, which provides care for substance-using women and their substance-exposed newborns, received an Innovative Services Award of Excellence from British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that deliver services to benefit children and youth in innovative and effective ways and who show a commitment to professional excellence.

2009 - A $4.65 million renovation to the ambulatory care facility and lobby will benefit the mothers at BC Women’s Hospital, the busiest maternal care centre in Canada. The renovation benefits moms-to-be that require highly specialized prenatal diagnostic and outpatient services because of their high-risk pregnancies. Women and their families will now have improved patient comfort, accessibility, safety and quality of care. 

2010 - After a $90.5 million contribution from the province, both the BC Children’s and BC Women’s hospitals will undergo their first phase of redevelopment, benefiting children and their families all across the province. Approximately 7,000 women gave birth at BC Women’s Hospital last year, making it one of the busiest maternity centres in Canada

2010 - As part of the revitalization of BC Children’s and Women’s Hospitals, three new beds and additional equipment were added to expand the capacity of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Now with 60 beds, the NICU provides care to the province’s mothers and infants who need the highest levels of care, such as premature infants or those with serious illnesses. 

2010 - BC Women’s participates in the provincial STOP HIV/AIDS pilot project to expand HIV testing, treatment, and support services by leading services to support women and youth in Vancouver’s inner city.

2010 - BC Women’s initiated the Power to Push Campaign and opened the Best Birth Clinic to provide up-to-date resources for pregnant women and their families in British Columbia and to help women make informed choices about how they want their baby to be born.

2011 - BC Women’s launched the first provincial pelvic pain program for women with chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis.

2012 - Our relocated and enhanced Breast Health Program opened with tomosynthesis digital mammography. BC Women’s is one of the only clinics in BC to have tomosynthesis technology to aid in the early detection of breast cancer.

2012 - BC Women’s, in partnership with BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia, opened the province’s first Simulation Training & Education Centre dedicated to improving child, newborn and women’s health care. High-fidelity sophisticated baby, child and adult woman computer based human-patient simulators allow physicians, nurses and other health care staff to practice clinical skills to a mastery level with no risk to patients.

2013 - BC Women’s opened the first provincial Complex Chronic Disease Clinic for women and men coping with lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and other chronic diseases.

2014 - The Provincial Milk Bank expanded its services to the hospitals in the Fraser Health Authority, helping to sustain and nourish many more infants and families than ever before.

2015 - A shared Mother-Infant room pilot was initiated in the NICU as part of preparing for the move to the new Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children's in 2017. This state-of-the-art program of care means that mothers are suppported to be with and care for their infants from the very beginning of their lives.

2017 -  BC Women's opened a 24/7 Urgent Care Centre for women who are pregnant through until six-weeks post-birth requiring triage, assessment, admission and treatment.

2017 -  The new Teck Acute Care Centre opened its doors in October, which included BC Women's newly designed NICU with 70 private rooms; and a labour and delivery suite with four specialized operating rooms and 14 private rooms.

SOURCE: Our Story ( )
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