Headwaters Orangeville

In 1907, a group of local women recognized the need for a hospital to provide health care services closer to home. The closest hospitals at the time were in Toronto and Fergus. In a time before highways, it was a great distance to travel for patients needing hospital care.

With vision and determination, 53 women founded the Lord Dufferin Chapter of the IODE [originally referred to as the International Order Daughters of the Empire – just IODE is used today]. The chief project of the new Chapter was the creation of a hospital in Orangeville.

Mrs. C. R. McKeown, the Chapter’s first Vice-Regent, took on the task of planning and fundraising for the hospital. Over the next several years, a series of fundraising events were held, and $7,000.00 was raised. This was an amazing accomplishment at a time when Orangeville and the surrounding counties had a population of 1,000.

Five years after initiating the project, on October 12, 1912, the IODE proudly opened the Lord Dufferin Hospital. It was named for Lord Dufferin, Governor General of Canada (1872-1878), who had visited Orangeville when the County of Dufferin was formed. The new hospital was located in what was known as the Kearns house on the corner of First Street (Prince of Wales Road) and McCarthy Street.

The IODE managed and operated the hospital. In 1923 a new wing was added to the Kearns house increasing the number of beds from nine to thirty.

The Lord Dufferin Hospital Training School for nurses also opened in October 1912. It operated until 1933 with 56 nursing graduates.

After 42 years of management, on October 22, 1954 the IODE surrendered their charter to allow for the creation of a more broadly based community hospital board. The hospital name was changed to Dufferin Area Hospital (DAH). Over the subsequent years, the IODE maintained their involvement with generous donations to support the hospital and representation on the hospital board.

On October 30, 1954 a new south wing opened at the DAH increasing the number of beds to 84. In 1962, the 1923 wing was demolished to make way for a new north wing. The new wing increased the number of beds to 123.

On January 1, 1993, Dufferin Area Hospital and Shelburne District Hospital became the first two rural hospitals to voluntarily amalgamate and became the Dufferin-Caledon Health Care Corporation with one board and medical staff, and programs and services consolidated between the two sites.

On May 3, 1997, a new acute care hospital in Orangeville opened at 100 Rolling Hills Drive. The new hospital operates under the name Headwaters Health Care Centre. [Note: the corporate name was changed from Dufferin-Caledon Health Care Corporation to Headwaters Health Care Centre in October 2002].
In June 2010, the inpatient complex continuing care unit at Shelburne site was relocated to Orangeville site.

In October 2012, the hospital celebrated 100 years of providing health care to our community.

Headwaters Shelburne

In 1950 the Dufferin Federation of Agriculture established a committee to determine the feasibility of establishing a hospital in Shelburne. Once the committee presented its report in March, a provisional board was established to obtain members [$10.00 each], raise funds, set up the hospital and prepare it for receiving patients.

In July the Brett house, a large two storey brick house, on Third Avenue was purchased for $12,000. The hospital was designated the Shelburne District Co-operative Nursing Centre with its first patient admitted in December 1950.

At the time of its opening the nursing centre could accommodate 14 patients. It had a main ward room of six beds, an operating room, two bed surgical suite, a maternity and labour room, a delivery room and bathroom on the first floor. On the second floor there was a three bed children’s ward, a nursery for newborns, a single private room, and living quarters for the nursing staff. In the basement, which had a ground level entrance, there was the heating plant, a kitchen, laundry, and an x-ray room.

The nursing centre was funded by the community through donations and by the payment of a daily fee - $5.00 for the main ward, $10.00 for use of the delivery room and $10.00 for an operation.

In 1954 the board applied to the Ontario Department of Health requesting that the nursing centre be recognized as a public hospital. With provincial approval, in August the name was changed to Shelburne District Hospital. For the first time the hospital received financial support from the province [$2,000]. Equipment continued to be purchased through generous community support from individuals and service clubs.

In 1961 construction began on a new 30 bed hospital with the official opening in June 1962. In 1970 an extension was added to the hospital, which included the new western entrance leading to reception and an administration area, a southern emergency entrance, examination rooms, meeting rooms, a laboratory, storage areas and the ambulance garage.

On January 1, 1993, Dufferin Area Hospital and Shelburne District Hospital became the first two rural hospitals to voluntarily amalgamate and became the Dufferin-Caledon Health Care Corporation with one board and medical staff, and programs and services consolidated between the two sites.

In 1998 a $2.5 million renovation of the Shelburne site was completed.
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Fast Facts:
  • Level C Community Hospital created through the merger of Dufferin Area Hospital and Shelburne District Hospital (1993)
  • Headwaters Health Care Centre Orangeville site opened on May 3, 1997, replacing the Dufferin Area Hospital
  • Redeveloped Shelburne District Hospital reopened October 1998
  • One of four High Performing Hospitals in the province in the 2005 Hospital Report for Inpatient Care
  • Paramedic Service (Dufferin County)
  • Dr. Andrew C. Vermeer Chemotherapy Suite (2003)
  • Satellite Hemodialysis Unit
  • First Digital Diagnostic Imaging System in North America
  • Nuclear Medicine (2009)
  • Digital Mammography (2009)
  • New 64-slice CAT Scan (2009)
  • Under serviced area designation (1999)
  • Telehealth-North Network (2000)
  • Accreditation Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation), an independent organization accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (2009-2012)
  • Four year accreditation Ontario Lab Accreditation Services (2009)
  • Forty-five million dollar operating budget
  • Recipient of Energy Efficiency Award (Honourable Mention) from the Government of Canada (2005)
  • Recipient of Green Health Care Award (Energy Efficiency Category) from the Ontario Hospital Association (2004)

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