The New Mount Sinai Hospital

By the late 1920s, overcrowding had become a constant issue on Yorkville Avenue, and the need for expansion became clear. Fundraising efforts for a new hospital began in the early 1940s, and the hunt for a location on University Avenue began. In 1942, Ben Sadowski, a prominent Toronto businessman who served as Mount Sinai’s Board Chair from 1943 to 1966, pulled a group of Jewish philanthropists together to meet regularly to plan for the “new” Mount Sinai Hospital.

The exterior of the New Mount Sinai Hospital building on University Avenue from 1953.

“Chief credit for the tall, handsome building on University Avenue must go to Toronto’s Jewish community, which laboured for twelve years, and against many unforeseen difficulties, to raise the biggest part of the cost. Yet, gentile patients will make the biggest use of the hospital, for in its new home, as in the old one, it will treat all who come.”

Editorial, The Globe and Mail

Ben Sadowski

Ben Sadowski’s single-minded certainty that Mount Sinai Hospital was destined to become more than just a community-based hospital was the driving force behind the hospital’s move to University Avenue. He believed in the skills of the primarily Jewish physicians and that with access to the right training they would be among the best in their fields. Affiliation with the University of Toronto was critical to his vision, and moving to University Avenue put them in the centre of Toronto’s academic and medical community.

When the New Mount Sinai Hospital opened on August 18, 1953, at 550 University Avenue, there were 12 departments. Ward rooms contained only four beds – a Toronto first. And of the $7.3-million construction costs, more than 80 per cent were raised from the Jewish community.