The Montreal Chest Institute was originally named the Royal Edward Institute. It opened in October 1909 and was originally located on Belmont Street, the current site of Montreal’s Central Station. Its initial mission was to treat people with tuberculosis, study the disease and prevent its spread.
The Institute was officially opened by King Edward VII even though he was thousands of miles away in Sussex, England. To launch the Institute, the King sent a telegraph which sprung open the Institute’s doors. It was a novel inauguration and it caused a sensation. At least 15 newspapers throughout the British Empire published articles about the unique opening ceremony.
His Majesty, King Edward VII, three thousand miles away in the library of West Dean Park, Chichester, had pushed into position the switch which sent across the rolling Atlantic an electric current officially opening the new Royal Edward Institute this afternoon.The Montreal Herald, Oct. 21, 1909
The event, a magnificent triumph of science, was worthy of an occasion which saw the King and his loyal subjects unite to do honour to a work which is set up to alleviate the sufferings of a common humanity.Montreal Witness, Oct. 23, 1909