On New Year’s Eve a group of Alumni of the Halbstadt Commercial School, who had recently immigrated to Canada from Russia, gathered for a social reunion. The group organized themselves as the Concordia Society and decided to start a maternity hospital in Winnipeg
Concordia’s first location was a residential building at 291 Machray Avenue.
Concordia relocates to a larger residential building at 720 Beverley Street and expands its services to include surgical and medical care in addition to maternity services.
A major concern of the Board during this period was the implementation of a system of medical insurance which would make medical service available to all at a reasonable cost. Particularly during a time of depression, those who did not have adequate resources sought to avoid incurring medical and hospital expenses as much as possible, often at considerable risk to their own health.
The result was what came to be known as a “Contract System”. This scheme involved the organization of groups consisting of a minimum of ten families in various localities in and around Winnipeg. Initially, each family was levied a fee of $12.00 per year. This levy was collected by a delegated person in each group who then became the official contact person between the Board and the group. “Bear ye one another’s burdens” became the motto of this venture. Soon enough interest was expressed by various groups and in February 1933 the first contract was signed with a group in Glenlea.
Others followed in quick succession. By the time of the annual meeting in 1933, the Board was ready to expand the plan to include medical services. The cost during the first year was $1.50 per month or $18.00 per year.
Under this expanded system the Board also had to negotiate contracts with the doctors to establish what portion of the charge they were to receive.
Concordia relocates to the Winnipeg Sanatorium building on Salaberry Avenue. The facility was purchased for $18,000. On May 2, 1934 Concordia was recognized by the Government as a public hospital and therefore was exempt from taxes and duties and had the right to collect funds from the municipalities concerned.
Concordia renovates and expands its facility from 47 beds to 86 beds including the addition of an Emergency Room, 2 operating rooms and x-ray and lab rooms. The cost of the addition was almost $300,000 and was funded with a $100 grant from the Government with the balance funded from fundraising and bank financing.
The hospital facilities were now fully modern. But at the same time the hospital was constantly filled to capacity with the most urgent need being the expansion of the maternity ward.
Concordia Hospital establishes a school for Practical Nurses. In 1965 the Canadian Nurses Award was presented to one of the students at Concordia, Miss Leona Toews of Morden.
Concordia Hospital began to operate in the magnificent and modern new building on Concordia Avenue. The new hospital now had fully modern facilities and was offering services in medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, laboratory, radiology, anesthesia and family medicine. The extent of emergency services was very limited, as they had been in the old hospital.
However, the visits to the Emergency Room increased dramatically to a point where very quickly it was clear that a larger Emergency department was needed. Likewise, the Intensive Care Unit which was not envisioned at the outset, expanded and further growth was needed.
The Concordia Hospital Board of Directors establishes the Concordia Foundation Incorporated as the fund raising entity for Concordia.
Concordia embarks on a $3 million expansion that includes a new Emergency Department, doubling the ICU from 4 to 8 beds, a Day Surgery and Endoscopy Unit, a Respiratory Department and a Hearing Centre.
The community around Concordia Hospital was rapidly growing making the Concordia’s Emergency the 3rd busiest in the Province behind Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface Hospital.
Concordia expands by adding a new wing with 60 beds at a cost of $1.5M. The beds were used as interim Personal Care Home until 2000.
Concordia Hospital Board of Directors signs an Operating Agreement with the newly created Winnipeg Hospital Authority. This Agreement would be followed by subsequent Operating Agreements that would integrate the financial and human resources services with those of the Region and establish Regional roles and accountabilities for Concordia.
Concordia Place opens providing the northeast Community with much needed 140 Personal Care Home beds. The opening of Concordia Place allowed for the conversion of the previous 60 bed interim PCH to Family Medicine and Surgery program beds.
Concordia Hospital establishes the hip and knee joint replacement program. Concordia currently completes over 1,500 hip and knee joint replacements a year. This represents approximately half of the joint replacements done in Manitoba.
Concordia Hospital Board of Directors creates Concordia Wellness Projects Incorporated (CWPI) to specifically acquire land and develop health and wellness services for Concordia Hospital’s catchment area. Shortly after its inception CWPI acquired over 22 acres of land across from the Hospital on Molson Street. This was made possible by the generous support of the Martin Bergen family.
Subsequently CWPI has developed over 300 units of assisted housing. In 2009 CWPI built the Hip and Knee Institute (HKI) to provide a venue for the outpatient and research activities in support of the orthopaedic program at Concordia. The HKI brought about the first in the world, a commercially available digital direct radiography Radiostereometric analysis suite for assessing joint replacements inside the human body.
The HKI was the first in North America, to establish an integrated clinical research database with a Joint Registry and an Implant Retrieval and Analysis Program. The Implant Retrieval and Analysis Program has a capacity for destructive testing and surface analysis using scanning electron microscopy. Also, a first in Manitoba, is the Knee Implant Wear Simulator and the Surgical Education Centre allowing participants to view live surgical procedures in true High Definition.
Concordia expands the Emergency department with an additional 3,000 square feet at a cost of over $3.5 million. The expansion adds more treatment spaces as well as an area specifically to support a nurse practitioner based minor treatment area.