• John Jantak

Ste. Anne’s Hospital celebrates its 100th anniversary


Jim McCann, 93, and Ethel Lawson, 91, speak to reporters following a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Ste. Anne’s Hospital last Thursday, June 22.

A decision made more than a century ago to temporarily locate a military hospital in Ste. Anne de Bellevue to treat wounded soldiers from World War I and which eventually became a permanent veterans’ facility was marked with a special tribute at Ste. Anne’s Hospital to recognize its 100th anniversary last Thursday, June 22.

“Even though we weren’t born, we can remember what these veterans did for us and I’m honoured to be able to celebrate 100 years. We still have a number of World War II veterans at this facility which shows the quality of services and support we give them,” said Benoît Morin, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the West Island Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS).

The hospital, which was transferred from federal to provincial jurisdiction in April 2016, has become an integral part of the CIUSSS as a geriatric facility for the general population while still providing specialized care and services for veterans.

Transition to geriatric centre

“Having Ste. Anne’s Hospital as part of the West Island CIUSSS is fantastic for our population. Even though it was a very complex transition from federal to provincial jurisdiction, we’ve maintained the level of services. As we look ahead, we wish to maintain all the services to really make it a geriatric centre that helps the population at large,” Morin told Your Local Journal.

“The level of expertise here benefits not only the veterans but also the civilians. We’re integrating more civilians and the mix of cultures is going very well. I hope Ste. Anne’s will be standing for the next 100 years,” added Morin.

Veterans ‘well looked after’

World War II veteran Jim McCann, 93, has been a resident at the hospital for the past 16 months and said he he’s pleased with the level of care he receives. “I think they’re very well looked after,” said Ethel Lawson, 91, McCann’s partner for 37 years.

McCann was a member of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion, Sixth British Airborne Division and trained in England for D-Day and other campaigns when he first went over in spring 1944, but he never saw combat.

Francis Scarpaleggia, Liberal Member of Parliament for Lac St. Louis, Ste. Anne’s Mayor Paola Hawa, former hospital directors general, and about 100 patients also participated in the occasion which featured a slide show detailing the health care facility’s history and a cake emblazoned with a 100-years logo.

Fitting homage

Hawa said that in a year that includes the 375th anniversary of Montreal and Canada’s 150th birthday, it was a fitting homage to honour the hospital’s 100th year-of-service and the veterans who continue to receive care at the facility after serving their country.

“Our histories are inextricably linked,” said Hawa. “A decision that was made in 1917 basically forged our municipality for 100 years. Ste. Anne’s is all about veterans, their stories and how they shaped our community. I never realized Ste. Anne’s was chosen because of its close location to the railway. Just this fact alone changed our history.”