Victoria, British Columbia, June 25, 2010 -- On behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, commemorated the Pemberton Memorial Operating Room as a national historic site of Canada at a special ceremony held today in Victoria.
“I am pleased to participate in the dedication of the plaque signifying the Pemberton Memorial Operating Room as a national historic site,” said Minister Lunn. “This unique operating room is a distinct reminder of how far our country’s medical practices have come and the importance of embracing innovation.”
Built in 1896, Pemberton Memorial Operating Room illustrates a time of transition in Canadian medicine. Its ceramic tile floor and attached sterilizing room reflect an emerging understanding of germs and sterilization.
These aseptic principles, introduced in Europe by Joseph Lister in the 1890s, fundamentally changed the design of medical facilities and reduced post-operative infections.
The octagonal operating room with no viewing area also demonstrates a shift in operating practices from amphitheatres accommodating large audiences in the 19th century to the smaller operating of the 20th century. Today, the small building stands in the shadow of the tall multi-story towers at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.
“Each of Canada’s national historic sites represents a unique part of who we are as Canadians, giving us a strong sense of place as Canadians,” said Minister Prentice. “I know how important it is to preserve this heritage and to share the stories of these special places with Canadians. I am delighted to know that the story of the Pemberton Memorial Operating Room will be told to future generations.”
“The Pemberton Memorial Operating Room has been an important part of our community for over 100 years," said Ida Chong B.C. Minister of Healthy Living and Sport and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. "The Province is honoured to be here today for the unveiling of the plaque that commemorates the operating room's status as a national historic site of Canada.”
With its rich history, Victoria is home to a number of national historic sites, including Hatley Park, Butchart Gardens and Fisgard Lighthouse. Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that commemorate persons, places and events that have shaped Canada’s history and offer visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring experiences.
- 30 -
Historic Sites Manager,
Coastal B.C. Field Unit
Backgrounder associated with this News Release.
Pemberton Memorial Operating Room National Historic Site