The Poplar St. parking lot at the Juravinski Cancer Centre is closed from June 3 to September 27. Click here for more info.

Hamilton Health Sciences Home
Hamilton Health Sciences’ McMaster Children’s Hospital celebrates 50 years of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit!
February 23, 2023

Celebrating 50 years of caring for the region’s youngest patients

HAMILTON, ON – This February 23, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) is proud to celebrate its 50th year of services to the region’s youngest patients. This is the country’s largest NICU with 63 beds, and it provides care for over 1,500 babies and their families every year.

“For the last 50 years, our NICU has been home to thousands of tiny young patients with serious health issues. Our staff, physicians, and allied health-care workers bring their expertise and compassion to work every day helping infants get the best possible start in life,” says Bruce Squires, MCH president. “In our unique position within a leading children’s hospital co-located with a regional tertiary care obstetrical centre, our NICU has grown into the largest in Canada and provides outstanding care to families across all of south-central Ontario. It brings me great pleasure to recognize the MCH NICU on its 50th anniversary.”

The NICU and regional Perinatal Unit first opened in 1973 at what was then called McMaster Hospital. At the time, it wasn’t exclusively a pediatric hospital, but all premature infants and specialists in Hamilton were moved to this location. It was also the first time ever, high-risk mothers and premature babies were to be treated as one unit. These individuals were transferred to the Perinatal Unit to give birth, instead of the baby being transferred after birth.

The NICU is a community of over 400 staff and physicians. This includes nurses, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and many other allied health and clinical support staff. Today, MCH is also the only NICU in Canada to include Physician Assistants as part of the medical team, a role that was introduced in 2019. Working under a medical directive, Physician Assistants perform medical procedures, attend deliveries and actively participate in daily patient medical management.

For more information on the MCH NICU’s 50th anniversary and some profiles of those who share in the celebrations, please visit

Please see below for links to other stories on the MCH NICU: