Photo Red Cross railway coach (CNR), Northern Ontario c. 1930

$80.00 CAD

– Sold Out

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Large photo of uncoupled Canadian National #66195 Red Cross railway coach, with nurse in uniform standing on steps to entrance.

This coach traveled across Northern Ontario, delivering medical services to remote communities.

Beautiful scarce image!

Handwritten in pencil on back:

Exterieur du wagon hospital des C.N. Rys


Also stamped in blue : CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY.

Comes from the estate of a French collector who died in 1940s.

Paper fold UR corner. Photo paper is 'curved'.

18.50 x 24 cm //   7 ¼” x 9 ⅜”

(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)


In addition to Canadian Red Cross stationary outposts in Ontario, there was also an “outpost on wheels.” It was made possible in 1926 through the donation of a railway coach by the Canadian National Railway (CNR). The coach was remodeled as a small hospital and included staff living quarters for a nurse and housekeeper at one end. The “outpost on wheels” was often used to provide temporary health services to small communities which did not yet have an established outpost of their own.

One of the central pillars of the Canadian Red Cross’ first peacetime public health policy, launched in 1919-20, was its concern for the health of mothers and children in rural and remote areas of Canada. The outpost hospital and nursing station program was an effective means to address this need. One of the most memorable outpost hospitals was the one pictured here, located in a converted Canadian National Railway train carriage that travelled the railway lines in Northern Ontario during the 1920s and 1930s.

In early twentieth-century Canada there was no such thing as public hospital insurance or Medicare, meaning that Canadians who could not afford to pay for medical treatment often had to go without. Another obstacle was lack of access: outside of the cities, citizens relied on local general practitioners, but in remote and new settlement areas there might be no physician for hundreds of kilometres.

Although this lack of medical services was a problem for many reasons, the Canadian Red Cross was especially concerned about its impact on women and children. Mothers lacked prenatal and postnatal care; infants and young children were at risk from an array of deadly childhood diseases. The results were obvious: Canada’s appallingly high maternal and infant mortality rates.