Mother d’Youville received the first “foundling” at the Montreal General Hospital in 1754, beginning over two centuries of receiving & caring for abandoned children. A wing of the hospital was reserved for these children until 1871 when the congregation moved to their new Motherhouse on Guy Street
With ongoing medical advances, especially the advent of baby milk formulas, from 1888 the Sisters no longer needed the services of wet-nurses and kept newborns on-site. After a tragic 1918 fire where 53 children perished, construction was resumed on an unfinished building in Cote-de-Liesse originally intended for elderly people. It finally opened in 1925 and all the children and their nurses moved out to the suburbs. It was rare that any children admitted to the Crèche remained for long as most were either reclaimed by their families or were adopted.
Faced with a building in poor condition not meeting the latest safety codes, the declining numbers of children due to changing social mores, as well as a general strike in 1970 which forced management to exceptionally request assistance from the general public, it was decided to close the Crèche. The remaining infants were placed elsewhere by provincial public authorities and the building was sold to a private developer who eventually demolished it in 1992.
ASGM, F054B, Film de Sr Barrette, Crèche d’Youville, ca 195? :