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Prestigious Royal Victoria Hospital closes its doors Sunday

MONTREAL — Dr. Jonathan Meakins has a lot of memories of the Royal Victoria Hospital. The former surgeon worked here for more than thirty years — starting in the sixties.

“My happiest memories are in the operating room as you might expect,” he told Global News.

But Dr. Meakins isn’t just another physician in the long line of notable doctors who worked here.

The former head of surgery is part of the Meakins’ dynasty.

Three generations — son to father to grandfather — were all senior physicians dating back to 1904.

“Frankly, I do think of it as history,” he said.

But this chapter of the Meakins’ history book at the Royal Vic will come to an end on Sunday, when the 122 year-old hospital will close it’s doors for good at 3 p.m.

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IN PICTURES: Saying good-bye to the Old Vic

“I guess it’s very much a part of who and what I am,” he said.

This hospital has meant a lot of things to a lot of people over the past century.

Elisabeth Langenback got her professional start at the Royal Vic in 1960, working in the research lab.

In 1973 she started volunteering to help patients.

The 91 year-old hasn’t quit but soon she will have to say goodbye.

“I miss the whole atmosphere.”

“I miss a lot. All the years of working here, yes,” she told Global News.

The hospital is being emptied out. Old furniture has been discarded and empty shelves are all that remain in some of the labs.

One-hundred-and-twenty years of history comes to an end as Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital moves to its new site at the Glen Yards.
One-hundred-and-twenty years of history comes to an end as Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital moves to its new site at the Glen Yards. Tim Sargeant/Global News

There are signs posted everywhere, indicating the hospital is moving to its new site at the former Glen Yard.

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“It’s a lot. This is a long standing institution. It’s going to be sad that it’s going to be closing,” Kimberly Brown, a social worker, told Global News.

Hundreds of thousands of patients and staff have been treated or worked here and it has a long list of milestones:

  • 1894: Royal Vic opened its doors to patients
  • 1957: first successful kidney transplant was performed in North America
  • 1960: first lung transplant in Canada
  • 2004: first successful birth in Canada from a frozen egg

Dr. Meakins is now in charge of carrying some of that history to the new Glen Site in NDG, and he said he has no regrets about the hospital move.

“I feel moving forward to the Glen is actually a huge step forward,” he said.

A step some hope will recreate history with medical breakthroughs and first rate patient care.