The Toronto General Hospital Exhibit

Well before the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) Bell Lightbox cultural centre was built, the northwest corner of King St. and John St. in downtown Toronto was home to the first Toronto General Hospital. The two-storey hospital first opened in June of 1829 and soon afterward other buildings were constructed nearby, including a hospital for cholera patients, an “Emigrant Building” and numerous structures to care for typhus, or “ship fever,” patients (waves of Irish emigrants that arrived in the city after the potato famine). (To read more about the hospital project and the finds, visit our Featured Project page.)

The TIFF Bell Lightbox opened an exhibition on their fourth floor library to showcase some of the items that were found during the excavations, including a projectile point that is thousands of years old. Visitors to the Lightbox can now view the Toronto General Hospital’s most note-worthy finds, including:

• Projectile point
• Preserve jars
• Bone toothbrushes and combs
• Coins
• An Irish harp brooch
• Buttons (ceramic, bone and metal)
• Bottles (medicinal and beverage)
• Medical crucibles (porcelain vessels used for melting refractory substances)
• Ceramic smoking pipes
• Ceramic plates and bowls
• Reconstructed chamber pots
• An amputated human femur fragment