The new centre for children and youth living with health complexity will continue the tradition of providing healing services to children on the Slocan site, which began as a tuberculosis preventorium in 1931 and eventually became the Sunny Hill Health Centre.
1930s – The Vancouver Preventorium for Children with Tuberculosis
A committee tasked with establishing a tuberculosis preventorium for school-aged children leased the site and buildings at Slocan Street and 21st Avenue from the City of Vancouver. The buildings had originally been used as an isolation hospital for smallpox since 1912.
Upon opening its doors in November of 1931, the renovated and refurbished Vancouver Preventorium for Children with Tuberculosis was equipped with 25 beds, a school, a playroom, a library, and landscaped grounds.
1940s and 1950s – Battling tuberculosis and polio
Tuberculosis and polio were major health issues of this time. Kids from across the province, including a large number of First Nations communities, came to the Preventorium seeking expert care for these diseases.
After a visit from Princess Margaret, the site was renamed the Princess Margaret Children's Village in 1959.
1960s – A transformative decade
With the success of antibiotics in treating tuberculosis, preventoriums became obsolete. And so the Slocan site experienced a great transition. In 1961, the Preventorium was renamed Sunny Hill Hospital for Children. Sunny Hill's focus evolved to caring for kids with cerebral palsy, disabilities, and children requiring extensive rehabilitation.
The 1960s also saw a transformation in the care of people with developmental and physical challenges. It marked the beginning of a shift toward giving children with a wide variety of developmental conditions the support needed to achieve greater independence and social inclusion.
1970s – Expanding services
The 1970s saw a range of new services at Sunny Hill – including outpatient developmental and medical assessments at the Children's Hospital Diagnostic Centre. In 1976, Canada hosted its first Paralympic Games in Toronto.
1981 – Significant renovations
Sunny Hill underwent a significant renovation that included the construction of a north wing, an indoor pool, a gymnasium, and Hartman House, which opened as a group home for children with severe disabilities. The Hartman House building was repurposed several times after the group home closed. Before Sunny Hill's move, it housed the BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN), where families came to receive team-based assessment and diagnosis.
1990s and 2000s – Outreach across BC
Sunny Hill staff members began providing outreach services by traveling to communities throughout British Columbia, helping to ensure that kids from all over the province had access to specialized care.
As Sunny Hill celebrated its 60th anniversary in 1991, it underwent a shift from providing long-term care to short-term diagnostic assessments. This transition involved a decrease in inpatient beds and an increase in outpatient and outreach services.
In 1997, Sunny Hill merged with BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre to form a new entity called the Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC. In 2002, Sunny Hill and BC Children's became part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), leading to further development of province-wide services for kids.
2010s – The daycare closes
At the end of August 2018, the daycare at the Slocan site closed. A special event honoured the impact the daycare had on the lives of children and families over the years.
2020s – A new era begins
In August 2020, Sunny Hill relocated from the Slocan site into a newly-renovated, state-of-the-art facility on the BC Children's Hospital Oak Street campus. Its name changed one last time to Sunny Hill Health Centre at BC Children's Hospital.
Sunny Hill's move has offered a tremendous opportunity to re-imagine children's health-care services on the Slocan site, and to continue the site's long legacy of caring for this population.