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Celebrating 125 years of caring for our community

This year marks the 125th year RVH has been providing care to the community, 25 years since the opening of our current site and the 10th anniversary of the official opening of the Phase 1 Expansion.

RVH’s roots actually go back to 1891 when a group of women banded together to fund a four-bed hospital – the Barrie General Hospital on Duckworth Street. But, as the population of Barrie started to grow, four beds was not enough to keep up with healthcare demand and ​a larger hospital, with room for 13 patients, was built on High Street.

In recognition of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, it was renamed Royal Victoria Hospital and opened on June 22, 1897. ​In 1902, a new 35-bed hospital, at a cost of $20,000, was built on Ross Street. Over the years the Ross Street site expanded but the need to grow continued. In 1995, construction began on our Georgian Drive site which opened in 1997. 

Very quickly, RVH needed more space on Georgian Drive and in 2005 got approval for the Phase 1 Expansion and broke ground in 2009.

Today, RVH is a regional health centre with many specialized programs and a highly skilled and dedicated team. And RVH is not done growing yet – having submitted a Stage 1 plan to the province for the expansion and redevelopment of Georgian Drive – the North Campus, as well as a new South Campus in Innisfil. 

RVH has come a long way since 1897, but one thing has never changed – providing safe high-quality care for residents of the region. RVH is always here for you.


The Barrie General Hospital, a tiny cottage with just four beds, was opened on Duckworth Street near Ardagh’s Grove.


​A larger hospital (with room for 13 patients) was built on High Street. In recognition of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, it was renamed Royal Victoria Hospital.


Monthly salaries total $37.87. Patients were charged $1.14 per day for care. (Today the average daily cost for care is almost $500)


​A new 35-bed hospital, at a cost of $20,000, was built on Ross Street.


The first X-ray machine, with a water driven motor, was purchased by several members of the medical staff.


​After World War II, the population of Barrie soared, so the Memorial Wing was built with 70 beds. By the late 60s RVH had expanded to 315 beds.


​A 16-bed Critical Care Unit was added.


​Construction started on the new Georgian Drive location.


​The new Royal Victoria Hospital opens, on-schedule and under budget.


​RVH gets the Green light for the Phase 1 Expansion Project including the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre which will double the size of the current hospital.


​RVH breaks ground on the Phase 1 Expansion Project.


RVH breaks ground on Rotary Place which is home to Rotary House, the lodge for cancer patients


​RVH introduces a new visual identity and name, becoming the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, although it will also continue to be referred to by the well-known acronym “RVH”.

RVH opens its Phase 1 Expansion Project on May 17, 2012.


​RVH launches new strategic plan June 17, 2013. MY CARE puts patients and families at the centre of everything we do. Follow the link to the right to review the plan. The plan was refreshed in 2016 and 2018.


RVH gets the ‘green light’ from the provincial government to build an Advanced Cardiac Centre.


RVH gets approval to develop a Child and Youth Mental Health Program including an inpatient unit and Day Program.


To address surging patient volumes, RVH opens a 40-bed Transitional Care Unit.

​The health centre celebrates the opening of the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Inpatient Unit in December.


​The Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program opens in January featuring a state-of-the-art Cardiac Intervention Unit. The health centre performs its first angiograms.

RVH embarks on planning for the future of healthcare with its Plan our Future campaign to determine best use of remaining space at the Georgian Drive campus and to begin plans to build a south campus to meet the healthcare needs of residents in south Barrie/Innisfil.

Child & Youth Mental Health Day Program opens in September. In partnership with the Simcoe County District School Board the Day Program provides academic and mental health services for high school students unable to attend regular classes.

​Scheduled angioplasties begin in the Cardiac Intervention Unit.


COVID-19 Pandemic

With an unwavering focus on safety, RVH introduced hundreds of new practices and protocols, put screeners at every door, restricted visitors, delayed scheduled surgeries to maintain bed capacity and, essentially, went into lock-down.

We faced a global PPE shortage, opened additional beds, built a field hospital, and supported our long-term care partners as the virus ravaged their homes.

To keep our patients and communities safe during the pandemic, RVH:

  • Established an Emergency Command Centre to manage RVH’s response.
  • Hired more than 300 additional staff, including screeners, immunizers, nurses, PSWs, cleaners and infection control specialists.
  • Renovated spaces and added 100 new beds, including a Regional Pandemic Response Unit.
  • Opened screening clinics in Barrie and Innisfil.
  • Opened the region’s first Immunization Clinic.
  • Accepted the transfer of 90+ patients from over-burdened GTA hospitals.
  • Supported 25 Simcoe Muskoka long-term care and retirement homes.
  • Expanded our laboratory capabilities to provide in-house COVID testing.
  • Introduced virtual visitation and pet therapy while our ‘Blue Brigade’ volunteers are temporarily suspended.