A Summer to Remember: Searching for the 1847 Fever Sheds at the Toronto General Hospital

Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology, 2018 Conference
Eva MacDonald and David Robertson

In 1847, the Toronto General Hospital served as a temporary place of refuge for thousands of Irish typhus victims who arrived during the Great Famine migration. To the Irish that live in Toronto today, that experience is symbolized by the “fever sheds,” 12 to 14 large wooden outbuildings that were erected on the grounds to accommodate the influx of patients with typhus fever. The redevelopment of four separate parcels within the original Hospital Reserve in the Town of York (Toronto) over the past 12 years has afforded opportunities to study aspects of the daily lives of the people who spent some time at the hospital. In 2018, numerous wooden posts for the buildings that served as the fever sheds were documented in the northwest portion of the Hospital Reserve, completing a search for the clearest evidence of the Irish typhus victims that started in 2006.