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Celebrate Canada 150

Celebrate Canada 150

Happy 150th birthday Canada!

In honour of this major milestone, please join AHS in taking a virtual walk through the history of health care in Alberta.

A Sampling of Milestones in the History of Alberta Health Care

1874
Dr. Richard Nevitt arrives in Fort Macleod and helps fellow North-West Mounted Police surgeon Dr. John Kitson build Alberta’s first hospital.

1883
Dr. Robert Brett becomes’ Calgary’s first physician.

1890
Calgary General Hospital opens.

1895
The Grey Nuns Hospital and General Hospital open in Edmonton. Dr. Etta Denovan, Alberta’s first female physician, starts her practice in Red Deer.

1905
Alberta becomes a province.

1911
Alberta’s first mental hospital opens in Ponoka. The Royal Alexandra Hospital opens in Edmonton.

1919
Alberta becomes the second Canadian province to establish a Department of Public Health.

1920
Dr. H. Orr opens Canada’s first free venereal disease clinic in Alberta.

1928
The Sexual Sterilization Act is passed which allows for the sterilization of people with mental challenges (Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed repealed this act in 1972).

1938
Alberta introduces legislation to provide free Tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment.

1941
Alberta establishes the first free cancer services program in Canada.

1950
Edmonton’s Dr. Eardley Allin performs Canada’s first Siamese twin operation at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

1956
Dr. John Callaghan performs Canada’s first open-heart surgery on 10-year-old Suzanne Beattie at the University of Alberta Hospital.

1965-1966
More people are inoculated with the measles vaccine in Alberta than the rest of Canada combined.

1967
The University of Calgary establishes a Faculty of Medicine.

1969
Canada’s Health Care Insurance Act is passed introducing mandatory federal Medicare to the provinces.

1974
Dr. Howard Gimbel makes history as the first Canadian surgeon to remove cataracts with an ultrasonic probe.

1980
The Lougheed government establishes the $300 million Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the first fully-funded provincial medical research fund in Canada.

1981
Dr. Helen Hays founds the palliative care unit at the Edmonton General Hospital.

1985
The Lions Air Service is created in Calgary to provide helicopter ambulance services. The name is later changed to Alberta’s Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS).

1991
STARS opens a base in Edmonton.

1993
Dr. Lorne Tyrell and a team of U of A researchers develop a successful antiviral therapy to treat chronic hepatitis B.

1997
Dr. Brian Sproule founds the Alberta Asthma Centre in Edmonton.

2000
Dr. James Shapiro leads a team of researchers at the University Hospital in developing the Edmonton Protocol, which transplants pancreatic islets into people with Type-1 diabetes.

2006
A third STARS base opens in Grande Prairie.

2008
Alberta Minister of Health and Wellness Ron Liepert announces the creation of Canada’s first province-wide, fully integrated health system.

2009
Alberta Health Services is born, bringing together 12 formerly separate health entities in the province including three geographically based health authorities, the Alberta Alcohol and the Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC), the Alberta Mental Health Board and the Alberta Cancer Board.

AHS takes responsibility for providing ambulance service to Albertans.

More than a million Albertans are immunized in just six weeks during the H1N1 pandemic.

2010
Health Link, the provincewide AHS health service available by phone, turns 10 having fielded more than eight million calls from Albertans.

2011
All patients (29) and staff are safely evacuated from the Slave Lake General Hospital when a devastating wild fire burns through Slave Lake.

2012
AHS launches the first six Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs), setting the stage for a fundamental change in healthcare innovation in Alberta.

2013
Calgary’s South Health Campus opens.

Heavy rainfall triggers catastrophic flooding in Southern Alberta. Forty-seven acute-care patients and 75 long-term care residents in High River are evacuated to other facilities. Residents of Calgary’s Agape Hospice and two continuing care sites, Bowview Manor and Bowcrest Centre, are also relocated.

Alberta Hospital Edmonton marks 90 years of serving Albertans.

2014
Medicine Hat Hospital celebrates its 125th anniversary.

2015
AHS launches Patient First Strategy.

New AHS board is established with Linda Hughes as chair.

2016
AHS names Dr. Verna Yiu President and CEO.

Nearly 90,000 Albertans are forced to leave their homes when a wild fire sweeps through Fort McMurray and the surrounding area. Within two hours, AHS staff members evacuate 73 acute care patients and 32 continuing care patients out of the Northern Lights Regional health Centre, even saving the hospital’s cat and bird. In the weeks that follow, AHS teams work around the clock for weeks to restore services.

Edson Health Care Centre opens.

Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge celebrates $135-million redevelopment that adds a new five-storey wing to the facility and expansions to several departments including Day Surgery and Neonatal Intensive Care.

AHS launches a new vision and new set of values.

2017
High Prairie Health Care Complex opens.

Alberta Health Services Archives & Historic Collections Photo Gallery