Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Dull Day Over Lake Ontario

Looking South-West -  Ship passing the 'Petro Canada Refinery' 

Local trivia: The Smoke Stack (Powerhouse) and Roof Tops peeking out above the tree tops is part of a local landmark, the old Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital (history) as it was originally named. Later the old hospital was renamed the Mimico Branch Asylum, Mimico Hospital for the Insane which is in the western part of the village of Mimico (as it was called at the time) which later became the part of town known as New Toronto. New Toronto became part of the borough (and later, in 1984, city) of Etobicoke which was merged into the new City of Toronto (part of the Greater Toronto Area or the GTA) in 1998.
Street View: Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital


Construction of the asylum started in 1888 and was completed in 1889. The hospital opened on January 21, 1889 with ten male patients and two attendants who were sent to get the institution ready for the influx of inmates that we're to follow. Dr. Nelson Henry Beemer who became the first superintendent was a strong believer in "meaningful work" as a form of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, like all male and female asylum inmate laborers in Ontario during this period, none received any pay for their so called "meaningful" work.

The old asylum closed it's doors on September 1, 1979. At the time of the it's closing the institution was seen as "an antiquated relic of Canada’s Victorian past" which was inspired by the prevailing trend of deinstitutionalization. The term 'deinstitutionalization' was an idea born out of the thinking mental health patients would be best rehabilitated living out in the community as opposed to being committed (locked-up) within an institution. However those decisions we're not without political controversy as many believed at the time it was simply an attempt by government to cut the upward spiraling cost of health care in Canada without any respect and concern as to the consequences of what those decisions might bring about. 

History proved the hospital's patients we're the victims of this controversy as it was for patients of many psychiatric institutions within Canada. Many we're simply cast adrift to became homeless without adequate means of looking after themselves both physically and mentally. And for a few they remain homeless to the present day. Fortunately the most severely ill were institutionalized in the newly constructed Queen Street Mental Health Center. This facility was an up to date modern structure that was more suitable to the care of those in need of the most care

Aerial view: Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital
The story is not without some 'colour' and on the somewhat lighter side is the haunting. In the years after the asylum's closing it's certainly been a target for 'Social Graffiti' as there have been a number of silly rumors and a some of the most far out urban legends. The most notable are reports by some of the present staff and students who now occupy the former grounds. They claim they are visited on a regular basis by a ghostly appearance. As always as it is with stories of UFOs stories of an haunting have to be great for attracting tourists to an area. WOW scary "The place is Haunted!" and joking aside, more here - Haunted or Not?
Video: Haunted Humber College - Main Floor


It would seem to me the only thing "haunted" here is the title!
... The
video does show at least one of the buildings and how it currently looks.

The former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital current status: 
... Active - Reused as Humber College South Campus

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