On February 20, 1845, Elisabeth Bruyère and three other sisters arrived in Bytown, known today as Ottawa. Bruyère, one of the four Grey Nuns, immediately went to work developing a school, hospital, orphanage and a home for the elderly. Their services also included home visits, evening classes for mothers and responding to other needs of the suffering population.
The group of Sisters became known as The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa.
On January 12, 1878, the Sisters arrived in Mattawa, Ontario and set about creating Mattawa's first medical center. The makeshift center served as a combination chapel, five-bed hospital and school. In addition to hospital care, the Sisters regularly traveled to shanties to care for sick lumberjacks and frequently used crafts as a form of rehabilitation to improve recovery time for their patients
The center was destroyed by fire on October 12, 1885 and replaced with a new two-story hospital during the same year. An addition was added onto it in 1887. This hospital also became the victim of fire in 1901.
A third hospital, a large red brick building, was constructed in 1902 and opened in 1904. The new hospital had a 52-bed capacity and came to be known as the ‘Pride of the North'. As the population of Mattawa grew, a new wing was added to the hospital to accommodate more patients. Part of the hospital was again destroyed by fire on April 1, 1966.
The community rallied together to find a solution to keep the hospital operational and purchased Atco portables to be used as a temporary solution. The original hospital building became the Sister's residence.
The restructured hospital opened on May 8, 1967. It contained 31 beds, nursing unit, emergency facilities, operating theatre, laboratory, x-ray, pharmacy and maternity section. A staff of 39 including eight Sisters was on hand.
As patient care services evolved during the 80's and 90's, surgical and obstetrical services were transferred to North Bay General Hospital. The number of beds was reduced to 19.
In 1992, the hospital was officially designated bilingual under Ontario's French-Language Services Act. In 1997 the hospital was incorporated and ownership transferred from the Sisters of Charity to the Catholic Health Care Corporation of Ontario. The number of Sisters providing health care was dwindled but the Hospital continues to provide health care and services in the Catholic tradition.
Working out of portable trailers connected to the older red-brick building was less than ideal and the original building was now over one-hundred years old.
In the summer of 2006, the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced funding to build a new $20-million structure. The 19-bed acute, rehabilitation and ambulatory care facility would include a 24-hour emergency department. An additional $5 million of the funding was raised from community cash and pledges.
The new hospital opened during the summer of 2008. As for the old hospital, in 2009 the The Sisters of Charity accepted a proposal from the Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord to purchase the old hospital site on Third Street.
Demolished in 2010.