St. Joseph's General Hospital Health Care with Compassion  
St. Joseph's History


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St. Joseph’s Hospital History

In the summer of 1913, four Toronto nuns of the Sisters of St. Joseph landed in Comox, answering the call of Bishop MacDonald of Victoria to set up a hospital in the logging area of the Comox Valley. They were on a mission of love and mercy - a creed that has endured the decades in St. Joseph's General Hospital.

History ClearingSisters MaJella, Claudia, Praxedes and St. Edmund quickly set up an eight-room farm house as the first convent hospital in the area. The construction of additions brought enough room for 10 patients by the following February, and then for 25 patients by August.

Soldiers from the 102 Battalion of the Royal Canadian Army training camp, set up in the Comox Valley in 1916 for ( World War I ) were often treated at the hospital.

In 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic invaded the Valley and the hospital was filled to over- flowing. For a time, there were so many victims that the school had to be converted into a temporary hospital.

Yet another addition in 1923 increased the hospital capacity to 35.

The next expansion was in 1937, built of brick and concrete and housing 68 beds. That structure still stands today, serving outpatients and some additional services. For 30 years it met the needs of the community until a new acute-care facility was constructed in 1968. With that, St. Joseph's became the general hospital for the region.

In 1982 a new lobby and laboratory were added along with a rehabilitation medicine centre.

Population in the region has continued to steadily increase and further additions have come both in bed capacity and health care services. A residential care addition housing 75 residents came in 1982; then in 1993, 50 more residential spaces were added. A psychiatry unit of 18 beds was added, followed by a 4 bed psychiatric intensive care unit in 2005 as the regional center for psychiatric services for the North Island.

In 1989, the Sisters of St. Joseph withdrew from the ownership and administration of the hospital. The Diocese of Victoria now continues that work in conjunction with the Hospital Board of elected and appointed members.

1994 brought extensive renovations and expansion to the kitchen, a new cafeteria, staff lounge and conference rooms. In 1995 a medical day care was added and surgical day care was renovated.

In 1997, an ambulatory care expansion of the laboratory, diagnostic imaging, emergency and out-patient areas was completed, as well as a complete upgrade to fire protection systems.

In the past five years there have been extensive renovations to the intensive care unit, a cancer care centre, and the addition of a pediatrics sunroom and a nuclear medicine wing was constructed in 2006.