Abandoned Muskoka Centre Sanitarium / Muskoka Regional Centre / Gravenhurst Sanitarium

Abandoned sanitarium in Gravenhurst, Ontario

Sir WIlliam Gage

In 1895, Sir William Gage and his associates wanted to establish the first tuberculosis sanitarium of it’s kind in Canada. After visiting TB sanitariums in Europe and America, the philanthropist Gage had an idea that Canada should have its own TB sanitarium.

Gage, who grew up in Brampton, Ontario was the wealthy president of W.J. Gage Publishing. He approached the city of Toronto with a $25,000 contribution to help build a TB sanitarium. The city turned down his offer partly due to fears associated with such a TB facility. At the time it was believed that TB was a poor man’s disease and hereditary.

After the City of Toronto turned down Gage’s offer, the Town of Gravenhurst made an offer of a $10,000 towards the National Sanitarium Association to support the construction of a TB hospital. Gage contributed an amount of $25,000. Mr. Hartland Massey contributed $25,000 and Mr. William Christie contributed $10,000.

A businessman from Kamloops, British Columbia made an equally tempting offer – free train rides to the BC facility if the sanitarium were to be built in British Columbia instead.

It was decided to construct the sanitarium in Gravenhurst on the shore of Lake Muskoka. The weather, the lake, the open air would be ideal for patients. It was also ideally located away from rural living.

The National Sanitarium Association was formed in 1896 to collect and administer funds for the creation of a Canadian sanitarium. The president of the NSA was Sir Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona) and the secretary was William Gage. The association had two purposes: to build sanitariums and to fund research.

With funding secured, construction commented. On July 13, 1897 the Muskoka Cottage Sanitarium, Canada’s first TB sanitarium opened. The MCS accepted paying patients and conditions were similar to that of staying in a resort. The fee was $6 per week with the average stay being 98 days.

Patients had plenty of rest, recreation and good food.

Muskoka Cottage Sanitarium Postcard, Muskoka San, Gravenhurst
postcard

Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives

The NSA Board of Directors felt that poor people deserved treatment as well. In 1902 the Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives opened on the same grounds, the first free hospital in the world.

When the MFHC burnt down in 1920, it was replaced with a new building named after Sir William Gage who had recently passed away.

Muskoka Free Hospital For Consumptives Admin building
Administration Building – Muskoka Free Hospital for Consumptives

In 1920 expansions were made to the Muskoka sanitarium to increase patient capacity to 444 beds. Buildings were constructed to allow surgeries, a laboratory, service buildings and homes for the professionals that worked at the Muskoka Cottage Sanitarium.

By 1934 there were twelve sanitariums across Canada.

A Medical Breakthrough

With the discovery of streptomycin in 1944, the need for traditional isolation lessened. This led to a decline in the number of patients during the 1940’s to 1950’s. In 1960 the site became a housing and care facility for development challenged individuals.

The site became known as the Muskoka Centre.

Conditions at Muskoka Centre were poor. There were too few staff and too many patients. Several patients suffered abuse at the hands of employees. A 1985 inquiry into conditions at the Muskoka Centre found that residents were not receiving adequate care.

A $36 million class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of patients who had been at twelve residential care facilities in Ontario. For patients of the Muskoka Centre the class-action covered those who’d been residents between August 28, 1973 and June 30, 1993.

The Muskoka Centre was finally closed in 1994.

Present Day

The Muskoka Sanitarium property has sat dormant since that time. Every winter the inside stairs coat with slippery ice as more mold accumulates inside. The water pipes have burst due to the cold Northern Ontario winters. People tear boards off the windows, Infrastructure Ontario replaces them.

The location has seen increased foot traffic from urban explorers. In July of 2017 a media campaign was released to discourage people from trespassing on the ground. Fifty people had been charged with trespass in that year alone.

Don’t be surprised if you’re caught here. The OPP use the grounds for police dog training.

Gravenhurst Town Council would like to see the property sold. Potential buyers Maple Leaf Education Systems and Knightstone Capital Management, would like to redevelop the property.

More photographs from the Muskoka Sanitarium here

Muskoka Centre Sanitarium, abandoned Ontario, Muskoka, Gravenhurst - peeling paint on the wall
peeling paint
Cafeteria, Muskoka Centre Sanitarium, abandoned Ontario, Muskoka, Gravenhurst - peeling paint on the wall

Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium tubs - Abandoned Sanitarium
drinking fountain at Muskoka Sanitarium, abandoned, Ontario
Drinking fountarin
Muskoka Centre Sanitarium chairs, Gravenhurst
Chairs
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Mortar has broken off the walls and accumulated on the stairs
Mortar collecting on the stairs
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Staircase
Muskoka Centre Sanitarium window
Round window
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
lonely chair - Muskoka Centre Sanitarium
Lonely chair
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium hallway
Clinical Kinesiology Room
Clinical Kinesiology Room 1 – Muskoka Sanitarium
radio on table and peeling paint wall
Radio on a table – Muskoka Sanitarium
movie projector
Film projector – Muskoka Sanitarium
Muskoka Centre Sanitarium hallway
Hall photo – Muskoka Sanitarium
peeling paint door
Peeling paint door – Muskoka Sanitarium
Photo of Muskoka Centre Sanitarium

Exploring Abandoned London Asylum for the Insane (London Psychiatric Hospital) Ontario

The London Psychiatric Hospital is located on Highbury Avenue in London, Ontario. It consists of 23 buildings including the Chapel of Hope church, horse stable and infirmary building. Mental health practices are ever advancing, but for some former patients of this facility the methods used in this hospital were nothing short of torture.

The original facility was called The London Asylum for the Insane. In 1932 the name was changed to the Ontario Hospital for the Mentally Ill. In 1968 it was again renamed the London Psychiatric Hospital (LPH). And in 2001 the final name change was St. Joseph’s Regional Mental Health Care London.

Chapel of Hope

The Chapel of Hope is located behind the main hospital building. Thousands of people have been married inside this scenic chapel, which became the property of Infrastructure Ontario after the hospital ceased operations.

Before the chapel was built, religious services were held in the general recreation facilities which was up three flights of stairs. This raised concerns about the elderly not being able to attend. In 1884 the church was constructed in a Gothic Revival style. The labour was provided by patients. The church was part of a plan by Superintendent Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke to create a beautiful grounds to help improve patients mental health. He petitioned Public Works Ontario to build the chapel. Both Protestant and Catholic services were held at the church.

Interestingly, the chapel was built with both a Roman Catholic and Protestant alter at opposite ends of the church. The pews were designed so that they could face either direction. When the Protestant congregation needed more space to worship, the church became Catholic.

The stained glass windows combine images of religion with images of the Asylum which at the time reflected religions role in moral therapy.

In 1970, the Chapel was renamed the Chapel of Hope and various rejuvenation projects were undertaken to restore the inside of the Chapel to its former glory.

Chapel of Hope - London Ontario
Chapel of Hope – London Ontario

Chapel of Hope London
Interior of Chapel of Hope

In it’s last years of use, weddings were booked by volunteers. The church had room for approximately 200 guests. You can no longer book weddings but the new property owner may resume the practice.

Horse Stable
horse stable on the hospital grounds
Photo by Jarod (Atlas Obscura)

The horse stable was built in 1894, ten years after the construction of the church. It features distinct ventilation cupolas on the roof. Today the structure is in poor condition.

Recreation Hall

recreational centre - London Psych Hospital
London Insane Asylum - assembly hall
interior photo of assembly hall on the grounds of the London Ontario Psychiatric Hospital

Photos courtesy of Dave Summer

Photo of London Insane Asylum
Photo credit: Talker



The two-storey recreation hall was built around 1920. It features gable ends and on each side of the building are two small wings that jut outward, with pedimented gables. The windows are set in semi-curcular brick panels.

The recreation hall was used for recreational activities for patients as well as for staging performances. The public was invited to attend these performances. There was a swimming pool but it was filled in long ago.

London Insane Asylum

The London Insane Asylum opened in November of 1870 and was the first of its kind in Ontario. At the time of the 1871 census, only five areas of Ontario had enough of a population to be considered a city. They were London, Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton.

The London Insane Asylum was built at a cost of $100,000 to house patients from other facilities that had undergone restructuring and amalgamated their facilities. Some of the patients arrived from areas including Orillia and Malden (near Windsor).

The London Insane Asylum opened with a capacity of 500 beds which were instantly filled.

There were two Superintendents of the facility – Henry Landor (1870 to 1877) and Richard Maurice Bucke (1877-1902).

Mental health practices up until this time were questionable, often horrific by today’s standards. It was believed that a patients mental state could be re-balanced through physical shock, whipping, burning and physical restraint.

Dr. Bucke, the second Superintendent of the hospital discontinued the use of alcohol and spirits for patients by 1879 and by 1883 discontinued the use of restraints. Instead he created an open door policy allowing patients to roam the hospital freely.

The 19th century saw more humane approaches to treatment of people with mental health issues. One such approach was that of Moral Therapy. Moral Therapy focused on improving care but also looked at teaching social norms and work habits. To help patients integrate back into society they also worked in some capacity at the facility. Men would work the gardens while women would learn to sew.

The long-term outlook was just that – long term. Once incarcerated, almost 50 per cent remained in the institution for more than ten years.

Additional photos of the Asylum


Hysteria and Masturbation

Bucke believed that in some cases of insanity, surgery could provide a cure. He began with a procedure to inhibit masturbation. This involved inserting a silver wire ring into the foreskin making it impossible to masturbate without injury or pain. In 1877 he performed this procedure 21 times but in the end conceded that the behaviour was more likely a symptom than a cause.

He didn’t perform any further surgeries until 18 years later.

Female hysteria was a diagnosis for women who exhibited anxiety, fainted, nervousness, sexual desire, irritability or sexually forward behaviour. Some families would commit their daughter to an asylum in order to save their family’s reputation.

Bucke adopted the popular Victorian idea that the female reproductive organs were connected to emotional and physical well-being, and were thus the most likely cause of mental illness. By removing the affected organ, by curing the body you could cure the mind.

Between 1895 and 1901, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke performed over 200 surgeries on female patients in an effort to cure their hysteria. This included 12 removals of “diseased” ovaries and tubes, 21 for minor uterine diseased and 8 for vaginal lesions. Critics called his actions the “mutilation of helpless lunatics.” (J.Hillhouse)

These were times where insanity was a simple diagnosis that could be applied to any socially unacceptable behaviour including masturbation, depression or senility. Dr. Bucke trusted that insanity could be treated and even cured by surgery. He treated masturbation by “wiring” male patients to stop the habit. Wiring was the process by which a silver wire ring was surgically inserted through the foreskin, making it impossible to masturbate without pain or injury.

Dr. Bucke along with other superintendents rallied to have the title of their institution changed from asylum to hospital. This was to reflect the role of the physician rather than one of being custodial – which asylum suggested.

These operations were largely discontinued after Bucke’s death in 1902. In February 1902 it’s alleged that he paused to gaze at the stars one winter’s night and lost his balance, and died from the resulting head injury. 

In 1924 additions to the property allowed for up to 1,200 patients.

By the 1930’s there were almost 1,700 patients.

Infirmary Building

Photo of London Insane Asylum

The infirmary building is what most people today call the asylum when referring to this location.

The Infirmary Building was used to house patients needing intensive medical observation and treatment. It’s three stoies high with a basement. A central skylight provided light for the operating theatre. Why was it called a theatre? An upper area allowed people to observe the operations taking place.

Photo of London Insane Asylum
London Insane Asylum interior
Photo of London Insane Asylum
London Insane Asylum
Photo of London Insane Asylum


On each side of the central structure are two storey wings connected to the central block. Each of the wings have a centrally located cupola on the roof. Each wing had sunporches which were replaced in 1945.

Each wing housed patient beds with 4 single rooms, 4 dormitory rooms, a dining room, a day room and a sun porch.

In 1963 the Ontario Hospital London was demolished and replaced with the London Psychiatric Hospital (LPH). It was a time of forward changes to mental health care. The Infirmary Building still remains to this day.

Photo of London Insane Asylum
Pay phone
Photo of London Insane Asylum
Photo of London Insane Asylum
One of the two patient wings
Photo of London Insane Asylum
Dangerous flooring

Regional Mental Health Care (RMHC)

In 2001 the name of the facility was changed to Regional Mental Health Care. This is the present day building that you’ll pass on Highbury. A portion of the building is still in use as a laboratory while the remainder is deserted. The windows have been boarded up but signs of vandalism indicate people have been able to get inside.

The London police ERT team has been known to patrol the grounds.

Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Duelling pianos inside the RMHC
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Cafeteria
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care

Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
The basement is eerily quiet. You can hear some machinery humming away. You really expect a worker to come around every corner.
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care - empty hallways
Empty hallways
Ontario Hospital London
Nurses reception
London Psychiatric Hospital
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
You’re expecting to see someone, anyone. But the place is deserted.
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
London Hospital - empty hallway
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care - kitchen
Kitchen
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
The morgue room
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Some say its the morgue others say its for laundry
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
The window is an inward bubble to allow you to see inside the room from the safety of behind the door.
Photo of Regional Mental Health Care
Roaming the basement looking for the hair salon


On September 28, 2014 St. Joseph’s held a mental health care legacy event. About 6,000 people attended the event to mark the closure of the mental health care site. Horse-drawn carriage rides were offered. The last patients left November 2014 for Parkwood Institute.

Current Status

In January of 2019 it was announced that Old Oak Properties had purchased the 160-acre property from the province for $17 million dollars. The plan is to build over 3,000 homes including townhouses and mid and highrise towers including seniors and student residences. The development is estimated to take between 10 to 15 years.

Today don’t be surprised if you find people walking their dogs. The forested roads that Superintendent Bucke sought to create a peaceful environment, still lives on. There is an assortment of wildlife to be found. It’s a nice place to go for a walk. Stories vary on whether security or police will ask you to leave. I’ve waved to security as they drove past me. I’ve driven past the London Police. Nobody has ever told me to leave.


All research by TWP (not just cut and pasted)

More photos can be found here
https://www.ontarioabandonedplaces.com/London-Insane-Asylum-Ontario_loc542.html

Exploring the Abandoned St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

St. Thomas Psych construction 1938

Abandoned psych hospital with morgue in St. Thomas, Ontario

In August of 1937 construction began on a hospital in St. Thomas, Ontario which became known as the Ontario Government Hospital, St. Thomas. It was built on land belonging to six farm families. The 460 acres of land was able to provide crops for the facility’s food and produce.

The hospital opened on April 1, 1939 and took in its first 32 patients. By August the number of patients was close to 1,100 people. The maximum capacity is said to have been reached in 1958 with 2,238 patients. At the time the St. Thomas Psych had a reputation for being the finest mental health hospital in Canada due to its modern design. It also provided jobs during the recession.

World War II

When World War II was declared, the hospital was leased to the Department of National Defence. The last patients were transferred out on October 31, 1939. Supplies for the R.C.A.F. began arriving three days later.

Sixty thousand men and women from every country in the British Commonwealth, as well as American volunteers with the R.C.A.F. were trained here. The school was known as, “No. 1 Training and Technical School”.

The school was equipped to handle more than 2,000 students at a time. They offered six-month courses for aircraft electricians and aero-engineers, air-frame and instrument mechanics and training for fabric and sheet metal workers.

With the local economy now being increased, St. Thomas responded with drop-in centres offering free coffee and sandwiches for R.C.A.F. personnel, dances, and other activities.

St. Thomas Psych construction 1938, abandoned, Ontario, psych, hospital, exploring
Under construction in 1938
Elgin County Archives, Scott Studio
The Aircraftman publication for students of the air force at St. Thomas
The school had a monthly publication titled The Aircraftman
St. Thomas fonds, R6 S6 Sh4 B5 F3


By October 1942, 20,000 ground crew personnel had graduated from the school.

Additional photos from the St.Thomas psych hospital can be seen here

Patients were relocated to other parts of the province. The hospital was returned to the Ontario Department of Health and reopened to patients in 1945.

1959 Open House

Patients were able to take part in the farming and food production process which contributed to feelings of self-worth and contributing.

Beginning in the 1970’s it was decided that rather than confine people to institutions, that through mental health transformation patient care should shift from that of an institutional model to helping patients learn to live productive lives in the community. It offered patients hope and recovery.

There was a nurses residence on the other side of the highway (Sunset Drive) and underground tunnels provided transportation. A bicycle at each end of the tunnel allowed nurses to quickly make their way from one end to the other.

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
Hydrotherapy tub (?)

1988 Incident


In 1988 two patients at the hospital were given day passes to allow them to work. One patient earned enough money to purchase a car. On March 31, 1988 one of the two men told his boss that he wanted to “leave early and get laid”. The two men drove to London where they found a fourteen year old girl waiting for a bus. She was abducted and beaten in the car on route to the factory where one of the men worked. The girl was thrown into a river where she later walked to a nearby house for help.

abandoned St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
Interior view of the west side of the St. Thomas Psychiatric hospital
St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital - Quiet hallway with patient's rooms and plenty of peeling paint
Quiet hallway with patient’s rooms and plenty of peeling paint

Transition


The St. Thomas Psych Hospital was taken over by St. Joseph’s Health Care in London as part of a reorganization initiative ordered by the Health Care Restructuring Commission (HSRC) in 1997. HSRC directives called for the divestment of a certain number of long term specialized inpatient beds from St. Joseph’s to hospitals across southwestern Ontario and the construction of two new specialized mental health care facilities, one in London and one in St. Thomas. The report recommended significant transitional funding to build community resources that would offset the eventual closure of beds.

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
The buildings are connected by underground tunnels which can be a challenge to navigate


A modern state of the art hospital was built on the grounds of the existing hospital in St. Thomas. It opened in June of 2013.

The hospital has taken on several names: Ontario Hospital, St. Thomas Psych and St. Thomas Regional Mental Health Care.

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
A coat room where one would change to go outside
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
If these hallways could speak, would they whisper or scream?

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
lonely hallway photo
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
fire door – keep closed
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
water reflection inside St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
calming colours – most likely intentional
suitcases inside St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave
hallway - St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
interconnecting hallways
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
calming blue hallway - St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
light blue hallway

The colours blue and green were often used on walls as they created a calming atmosphere.

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
open windows -  St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital
open windows – it’s colder inside than outside

While exploring this facility in 2015 we found a pigeon trapped inside. It was flying into the walls in a panicked attempt to escape. Using a pair of gloves, one of our crew plucked it and let it escape out a window. We then closed the windows to prevent a recurrence.

Photo of St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital


Other events:


February 2016 – OPP warn explorers to stay out of the facility.

January 2020 – Actor Jason Momoa intends to film a post-apocalyptic television show inside the former hospital. It will be titled ‘See’ and will be released on Apple TV.

All research done by TWP.

Abandoned Ontario Chedoke Hospital Hamilton

Chedoke

The Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton started as a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients in 1906. It began as a two tent operation located on a farm where eight patients were able to be treated. 

When antibiotics were discovered by Albert Schatz in 1943, the need for long stays in sanitariums was no longer required. To remain operational the sanitarium began accepting Inuit patients from Northern Canada. From 1958 until 1962, approximately 1,300 patients received treatment at Chedoke.

Life for Inuit patients could often involve feelings of isolation, being confined to a bed, language barriers and some suffered abuse at the hands of staff. 

In time the tents were replaced by cottages which were not well insulated against the winter. The cottages were replaced by brick buildings.

abandoned hospital auditorium in Chedoke,  urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
empty hallway Chedokee Hospital, urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Empty hallways and reception areas
Chedokee Hospital - recreation area, urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Recreational area

The Children's Care building, urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Children’s care building 

The treatment for TB at the time was rest, fresh air and a good diet.  In 1961, the sanatorium officially became Chedoke General and Children’s Hospital. In 1971 the hospital name was changed to Chedoke Hospital.

The emergency department closed in 1992. The rehabilitation and brain injury services moved out in 2009, followed by the regional joint assessment program which left in 2011. 

Chedoke swimming pool - chedoke Hospital in Hamilton
swimming pool

Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton

Today there are still several buildings left on the grounds, some of which are partially still in use. There is enough to spend an entire day exploring – if you can get inside. 

There are security cameras on site, and I can vouch for their effectiveness. We were caught within five minutes of being on the property. 

children's care building - Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton
Children’s building

Developers have purchased much of the land and new housing is being constructed. 

urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places, Chedoke Hospital, Hamilton
Photo of Chedokee Hospital in Hamilton
Photo of Chedokee Hospital x-ray room - Chedoke Hospital in Hamilton

Historical Photographs 

Exploring Abandoned St. Catharines General Hospital and Autopsy Room

St. Catharine’s first hospital was founded by Dr. Theophilus Mack in 1865. It was built on Cherry Street and contained four beds. The hospital provided medical care for sailors passing through the Welland Canal as well as to the local residents. 

A second hospital, on Hainer Street, opened in the spring of 1867 and was three times larger with twelve beds. 

In March of 1870 the board agreed to purchase the Winsor Chase house on Queenston Street. The house was remodelled to create room for sixteen beds. It opened in September of the same year. The last official address was 142 Queenston Street.

In 1924 the hospital’s name was changed to St. Catharines General Hospital. 

The Leonard Nurses Home, a residence for nurses, was built to the east of the hospital. There was room left between the two buildings to add on a wing at a later date. The residence was named after Colonel Reuben Leonard, a board member who financed the construction.

Leonard Home for Nurses - St. Catharines
Leonard Home for Nurses – St. Catharines

The top two floors were demolished in 1972 and the second floor joined to the Moore Wing of the hospital. 

St. Catharines General Hospital in Ontario, St. Catharines, urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places

The St. Catharines General Hospital closed on March 24, 2013 at 6 a.m. when services were moved to the new facility on Fourth Avenue. 

A year earlier, Panoramic Properties Inc. agreed to purchase the property to be used as multi-unit residences while preserving some of the building’s historic features.  Local residents and businesses became tired of looking at the dilapidated structure as it sat idle until 2017. In 2017 a new owner, Queenston Oakdale Limited took over. Panoramic hasn’t disclosed why they didn’t proceed with the project.

Attempts were made to keep trespassers out from the property. This included German Shepherd guard dogs which were housed inside the hospital. While I explored this location, I came across the sleeping area for the dogs. Other explorers reported finding dog feces in the hallways. This seemed like a large liability to me if anyone were to be attacked by the dogs.

beware of dog sign - St. Catharines Hospital, St. Catharines General Hospital in Ontario, St. Catharines, urban exploration photography, urban explorer, urban exploring, creepy, decay, abandoned, abandoned Ontario, abandoned exploring, abandoned houses, time capsule, abandoned photography, abandoned places
Beware of dog sign

The dogs were removed some time in 2017. I’ve often wondered, how guard dogs can be vicious yet welcoming to the people who care for the property. 

Cameras were installed, windows boarded and doors welded. The rear of the hospital was out of the public eye which allowed people to attempt to make entry. On my visit, an exterior door was off the hinges and laying on the ground. 

A news article reported that the fence had been cut at least “100 times” by people looking to gain entry. 

In December 2018 Starnino Environmental Recovery was hired to commence demolition. Equipment arrived on site December 1, 2018 ready to demolish the property. Demolition was delayed as the property had to be searched for any squatters inside. 

One of the first areas I explored was the morgue – a must see. I’m not quite sure what the fascination is with morgues, perhaps it’s because it’s an area of any hospital that’s kept out of view of the public. It represents the end of life cycle, unlike the nursery where the public can view the beginning of life. 

autopsy room chaulk board - St. Catharines General Hospital
A chaulk board with areas for brain, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, etc. 
autopsy room in abandoned St. Catharines Hospital
Autopsy room
autopsy table in abandoned Ontario St. Catherine's Hospital

There was a fridge unit with samples of human tissue, and patient names on them. I’m not showing the names however I’m quite certain this was a privacy issue.

human tissue samples in autopsy room
Human samples in autopsy room
Photo of St Catharines General Hospital

This room looked to be a laboratory of some sort. There was a board not far from here where explorers signed their names. 

Photo of St Catharines General Hospital
Laboratory room – St. Catharines Hospital

On the main floor down from the reception area was a large board room. I heard stories that kids were later found in here smoking marijuana. It was completely dark in here as there were no windows, and we were very much alone on our visit.

board room - St. Catharine's General Hospital
Board room

The property has seen it’s share of vandalism both from acts of mischief and scrappers looking for metals.

Photo of St Catharines General Hospital
lonely hospital hallway

If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s a miracle that this beautiful stained glass window in the chapel survived the years of this hospital being abandoned. Not one broken pane. 

stain glass in hospital chapel of St. Catharines Hospital

This room retains the look of what the original rooms may have looked like decades ago. The fireplace has been sealed off.

Photo of St Catharines General Hospital

Of course there was the cafeteria to explore 

St. Catharine's General Hospital cafeteria
Hospital cafeteria

And many hallways with identical looking rooms 

hospital hallway with purple walls
Soothing purple walls
examination room of the St. Catharines General Hospital
Examination room
Photo of St Catharines General Hospital
examination room

This could very well be the wing that connected the nurse’s residence. I don’t remember. 

connecting hallway

This room had been padlocked until some explorers took it upon themselves to break in. The result was that several photographers were able to take photos like this one, but also allow vandals in. The machines had paint tossed on them some time after my visit. 

x-ray room of St. Catharines General Hospital
imaging room – Note ZERO vandalism
Photo of St Catharines General Hospital

One question that often arises is, why doesn’t this equipment get donated to hospitals that could use it? That’s a very good question. I believe part of the answer is that the equipment becomes obsolete relatively quickly. Could it not be shipped to a needy country? 

lone hospital bed - St. Catharines General Hospital
Hospital bed
Photo of St Catharines General Hospital

In contrast to the morgue where life ends, this is where life begins. The nursery. 

nursery in the St. Catharines General Hospital
Nursery
hair salon in St. Catharines General Hospital
Hair salon
hallway