St. Paul Hospital was built at the request of Bishop Paul Durieu, for whom the Hospital is named, by the Sisters of Providence. Opened in 1894, this historic place is valued for its strong associations with the Sisters of Providence, who travelled from Quebec to British Columbia with the objective of providing healthcare to the thriving new province. Led by Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the Sisters acquired the St. Paul site and proceeded to build the first of twelve buildings on the property. Mother Joseph herself was an accomplished carpenter and the first woman architect in the region, and she oversaw St. Paul’s construction as a 25-bed, 4-storey wood frame building.
In 1912 the original building was replaced by a new reinforced concrete structure finished in Second Renaissance Revival style with brick, terra cotta and granite. Now known as the Centre Block of the Burrard Building, the cross-shaped floor plan accommodated 200 patients. St Paul’s remains the primary hospital serving downtown Vancouver and continues to earn recognition for its work in areas of heart disease, kidney disease, nutritional disorders, HIV/AIDS, and the care of the disadvantaged.