Victoria Hospital for Sick Children

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The Victoria Hospital for Sick Children (currently Canadian Blood Services), designed by Frank Darling and S.George Curry in 1891 and located at 67 College Street in Toronto, played a great role in history of hospitals in Canada. The significance of the hospital included the introduction of incorporated x-rays in 1896 and the first milk pasteurization plant in Canada in 1908 (Adams 206).


Made of sandstone and expressing the mood of Canadian architecture of the late 1880s, the building has an impressive contrast against a background consisting of modern and postmodern architectural styles. The solidity of the exterior design of the building is due to the heavily rusticated stone that was used in the construction of massive, thick walls. It is further emphasized by stone masonry, cavernous door opening, deep window reveals, and bands of windows. The roof of the Canadian Blood Services building has multiple steeply pitched roofs, an ordinary element of the Romanesque Revival architecture which provided the ventilation to the building (Adams 206).

The main entrance is one of the key elements of the building. In fact, having a cavernous door opening with steps and an entrance ramp for wheel-chair access in front of it, the entrance attracts even those who are not interested in architecture. Rusticated at the base, the arched entrance seems to be massive at the bottom; nonetheless, as it goes upper, the heavy stones are changed with smooth bricks, adding the impression of flow into the front facade. It acts as a transition to the visitor’s experience from the exterior to the interior of the building, when the Romanesque Revival building from the exterior turns out to have modern interior faces, accommodating advanced laboratories with the cutting-edge research, blood collection, testing and transplantation (Official SickKids).

The Canadian Blood Services building was awarded with Commendation of Adaptive Re-use by the Toronto Historical Board after it was reconstructed in 1993 by Parkin Architects (Official Parkin).


Adams, Annmarie. Medicine by Design: the Architect and the Modern Hospital, 1893-1943. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2008. Print.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). “About Sick Kids.” SickKids. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Web. 15 Oct. 2010. <

Parkin Architects. “Canadian Blood Services Renovation.” Parkin Architects Limited. Parkin Architects Limited. Web. 16 Oct. 2010. <;.

Warsh, Cheryl Lynn Krasnick, and Veronica Jane. Strong-Boag. Children’s Health Issues in Historical Perspective. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2005. Print.

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