320 College Street,
Durham Memorial Hospital which was incorporated in 1946 to provide service to the Town of Durham and the Townships of Bentinck, Egremont, Glenelg and Normanby, was preceded, first in the early 1900s, by a 4 bed hospital and operating room created by a nurse named Victoria Carmount who adapted a house in Durham. Due to the absence of physicians during World War I, that facility was forced to close.
Secondly, in 1922 the present hospital was also preceded by the Durham Red Cross Memorial Hospital, operated by the local Branch of the Red Cross, which renovated an Anglican rectory to accommodate 10 patients. This facility was enlarged in 1925 and again in 1928 when X-Ray equipment was introduced. During this period, the Hospital also served as a training school for nurses, continuing this service until 1933 when legislation limited training facilities to hospitals with 50 or more beds.
By 1956, 16 beds and minor surgical facilities were available but the X-Ray equipment and general facilities were in need of upgrade. Discussions and planning commenced, approaches were made to the Ontario Hospital Services Commission and in 1959, plans were drawn and tenders let for a new facility. However, in 1960, the plans were abandoned due to the prohibitive costs involved. The community reacted to this setback by raising the necessary funds, an $8,000 site was purchased and in 1962, the new hospital opened with 34 beds and included an operating room, emergency/recovery room unit, laboratory, x-ray and auxiliary service departments.
The local ambulance service and equipment was turned over to the Hospital in 1966 and coverage was provided by a combination of Hospital staff and community volunteers. In that same year, the Hospital received full 3-year accreditation following its first survey, becoming the first small hospital in Canada to accomplish that result.
Additions were made in 1972, which increased the capacity to 38 beds, and then, in 1976, the Hospital was faced with the threat of closure by order of the government of the day. Significant community support was forthcoming and subsequently, a court order was obtained whereby it was ruled that the Hospital should remain open.
A fundraising campaign commenced in 1991 for the purpose of renovating and re-equipping Diagnostic Imaging. The campaign raised $600,000 and the new facilities were opened in 1992. Also that year, the ambulance service was de-licensed and turned over to the Ministry of Health.
In the ensuing years, the Hospital continued to introduce new or expanded services and made changes to the physical plant and other renovations to enable the hospital, which has a current 10 bed complement, to stay abreast of the changing health care environment.
P.O. Box 1407
Anne Marie Watson, Foundation Coordinator
Phone:519-369-2340 ext 5267