Our History

A History of Caring


Happy Birthday

In 2023, WDMH and the WDMH Auxiliary are celebrating our 75th birthdays.

A Brief History of WDMH

  • Winchester District Memorial Hospital was officially opened on December 8, 1948. The Hon. George Challies, MPP for Grenville-Dundas and the Hon. Rusell Kelly, Ontario Minister of Health presided. Over 3,000 people attended. Mr. Kelly donated a Mansfield woolen blanket to the first baby born at the hospital. The local papers were quoted as saying it was "for the relief of human suffering". 
  • The first WDMH patient was 10-year old Glendon Loucks, who underwent minor surgery. On December 24th, the hospital registered its first birth, a little girl named Carol, born to Glendon and Doris Fetterly of Mountain. 
  • The two-storey building had 32 beds. Dr. Howard Justus was the first Chief of Staff. In the first year, staff and physicians treated 1300 patients and delivered 245 babies.
  • At the ceremony, a scroll bearing the names of boys in the district killed in WWII was erected. It was unveiled by Perley S. Boyd, clerk of the United Counties, who noted there was no better tribute to war heroes than a hospital.
  • Prior to this, on October 4, 1948, Ontario Minister of Health, the Hon. Rusell T. Kelley officiated at the “Laying of the Cornerstone” as part of final construction. Mr. Walter C. MacDonald, Chairman of the Hospital Board assisted. Close to 2,000 Winchester and district citizens attended and a parade throughout the town was planned.
  • Dr. J.J. McKendry is credited with starting the ball rolling when he sent a letter to the Editor of the Winchester Press in 1944 stating the need for a hospital in Winchester. He envisioned a 25-bed hospital.
  • Walter C. MacDonald became the first Chairman of the Board which was fitting since he was one of the most instrumental persons involved in the planning stages. He was chairman of the provisional council set up to finance and organize a hospital and when the hospital received its charter in 1946, he became Chairman of the Board. Other early Chairmen were: Wallace D. Carkner; W.J.L. Boyd; Eric Casselman; George Suffel; Howard Biccum; Stan Hicks; W.R. Workman; George E. Elliott and Ed Hanson.
  • On August 3, 1948, a small group of women met in the Town Hall to discuss the impact the hospital was to have on the entire community and the need for an “auxiliary” force to assist. Their efforts were led by Mrs. Chester Robinson. Mrs. George Elliott was the first secretary and Miss Nora Elliott handled the meager finances at the time.
  • In 1955, a new administration wing was added at a cost of $36,000. In the same year, a blood bank was established.
  • In 1960, the first major expansion was completed, going from 35 to 89 beds at a cost of $700,000. The new south wing included medical, surgical and maternity beds, more and larger operating rooms, x-ray and lab facilities, a new delivery suite, a cafeteria, a modern kitchen, new laundry and board rooms, a new nurses' lounge, and a pharmacy.
  • Funds from the Harvey S. Dillabough estate made possible the construction of a $140,000 nurses’ residence. It was officially opened on October 21, 1964, by the Provincial Member for Grenville-Dundas, Mr. F. M. Cass.
  • In 1968, a $1.6 million expansion included a 35-bed chronic care unit, relocation of the dietary unit, a boiler room and the addition of a 16-bed pediatric unit.
  • In 1972, a new modern incinerator was built at a cost of $100,000.
  • In 1977, $225,000 was spent to create a new x-ray room, family lounge, pharmacy, and nursing office. The bed count had increased to 120 beds.
  • In 1980, the Intensive Care Unit expanded to four beds at a cost of $105,000.
  • Five years later, a $600,000 project created a new state-of-the-art lab, a renovated x-ray department and emergency and out-patient departments.
  • In 1992, the HELP campaign raised funds for infrastructure changes such as ventilation systems, code upgrades and plumbing. Ten years later, the Renewing the Vision campaign was launched.
  • On March 27, 2009, the new Winchester District Memorial Hospital was officially opened, resulting in the most technologically-advanced facility in rural Ontario. Generous community members, municipalities and businesses gave $15.1 million for the project, through the Renewing the Vision campaign.
  • In 2013, a Community Care Building was built on the WDMH campus, providing access to other key health and community services close by for patients and families.
  • Today, WDMH is a hub site for cancer care, dialysis, and cataract surgery and offers specialty clinics with visiting specialists from Ottawa hospitals.
  • In March 2016, the Community Care Building was expanded to double its size and welcome additional health and community services on the same site.

Community Leaders


Thank you to the committed community volunteers who have served as Chair of the WDMH Board of Directors over the past 7 decades:


  • 1946 to 1954 - Mr. Walter MacDonald
  • 1954 to 1959 - Mr. Wallace Carkner
  • 1959 to 1963 - Mr. W.J.L. Boyd
  • 1963 to 1965 - Mr. Eric Casselman
  • 1065 to 1967 - Mr. George Suffel
  • 1967 to 1969 - Mr. H.E. Biccum
  • 1969 to 1971 - Mr. S.A.Hicks
  • 1971 to 1973 - Mr. Reginald Workman
  • 1973 to 1976 - Mr. George Elliott
  • 1976 to 1979 - Mr. Edward Hanson
  • 1980 to 1982 - Mr. Bill Porteous
  • 1982 to 1984 - Mr. John R. McIntosh
  • 1984 to 1986 - Mr. Ron Workman
  • 1986 to 1988 - Mr. Clare Brown
  • 1988 to 1990 - Mrs. Joan Farlinger
  • 1990 to 1991 - Mr. Wayne Burns
  • 1991 - Mr. Herman Devries
  • 1991 to 1994 - Mr. Robert Weagant
  • 1994 to 1996 - Mr. Nick Lee
  • 1996 to 1998 - Mr. Arden Schneckenburger
  • 1998 to 2000 - Mrs. Jannie vanNoppen
  • 2000 to 2003 - Mr. Brian Mann
  • 2003 to 2006 - Mr. Bill Smirle
  • 2006 to 2008 - Mr. Bruce Rowsell
  • 2008 to 2010 - Mr. Peter Sorby
  • 2010 to 2012 - Mr. John Polak
  • 2012 to 2014 - Ms. Lisa Little
  • 2014 to 2016 - Mr. Stephen McClellan
  • 2016 to 2018 -Ms. Marieke vanNoppen
  • 2018 to 2020 - Mr. Mike Villeneuve
  • 2020 to 2022 - Mr. James Pitruniak
  • 2022 to Present - Mr. Bruce Millar