On March 3, 1903, the Montreal City Council decided to build two hospitals for contagious diseases, one in the east end of Montreal for Catholics and the other in the west end for Protestants. The administrators of the Notre-Dame Hospital agreed to take on the construction of the eastern hospital and to manage it. Located on Maisonneuve Street (now Alexandre-DeSève), it was named St. Paul’s Hospital.
Since St. Paul’s Hospital was a subsidiary of Notre-Dame Hospital, which had been run by the Grey Nuns since 1880, it was only fitting that they should be its regular nurses.
On December 1, 1905, St. Paul’s Hospital opened its doors.
The building consisted of four two-story pavilions with basements: the administration pavilion, the diphtheria pavilion, the scarlet fever pavilion and the measles pavilion.
Underground corridors connected the four pavilions. Each pavilion was painted, inside, with a particular color and housed a particular category of patients: yellow for diphtheria, red for scarlet fever, blue for measles. The dishes, the linen room, the furnishings, even the service sheets were the color of the pavilion. These precautions were taken to avoid any contagion. The fourth pavilion was reserved for the administration.