KGH celebrating 175 years of care

News / General
By Karl Oczkowski

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks, and you'll start to notice Kingston General Hospital's new heritage logo. The logo has been designed for KGH's 175th anniversary, and over the next year we'll be using it to celebrate our history. KGH may not be the oldest hospital in Canada, but it is the country's oldest public hospital with most of its original buildings still intact.

"Our 175th anniversary is a chance for us to recognize how our hospital has evolved over the years to meet the needs of the community, and how it continues to do so," says Helen Simeon, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer.

Our signficicant history inspired the new logo, which you'll start to see on our websites and in our newsletter throughout 2013. Front and centre within the logo is the Watkins wing in red, our first building which was originally built in 1835. From there, our newer buildings extend upwards to complete the image, a testament to our growth and evolution.

Our place in Canadian history extends back to November 1838, when 19 wounded American prisoners were brought to our hospital. At that time, three years had passed since the original building was completed, but the hospital's commissioners had struggled to secure funding and commence operation. Those prisoners were KGH's very first patients, arriving sometime between November 12 and 17, following The Battle of The Windmill near Prescott. It was a battle won by British troops and local militia from our area who successfully defended the St. Lawrence waterway and Upper Canada.

After that, Kingston was chosen as the seat of the nation's first Parliament and the hospital was repurposed to serve as its temporary home. From 1841 until 1844, meetings between the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada were held in what is now the Watkins Wing.

And even as recently as the Second World War, KGH took on unique responsibilities, providing special training for military nurses, orderlies, cooks and technicians.

"Throughout our entire past KGH has stood as a cornerstone of the community," says Simeon. "We've served many different needs over the years and we want to celebrate this impressive milestone with the community in any way we can."

The new logo is the first step in our year of celebration, which will include a new heritage section on our website, and events that will help us explore our past. Stay tuned for more updates on the latest plans.