Tuesday, September 11, 2012

800 Sherbrook Street - Rehabilitation Respiratory Hospital

Rehab Hospital
Place: Rehabilitation Respiratory Hospital (HSC)
Address: 800 Sherbrook Street (Map)
Opened: September 14, 1962 (50th anniversary !)
Architect: Moody, Moore and Partners
Contractor: Baert Construction
Cost: $4.3 m


December 4, 1958, Winnipeg Free Press, p. 1

In the 1950s Manitoba's population was growing and hospitals across the province routinely found themselves short of beds. To address the problem the Roblin government implemented a hospital facility plan and by 1960 - 61 had new hospital construction underway in Brandon and St. James as well as expansions to the Winnipeg General Hospital and smaller centres such as Morris and Arborg.

A growing problem within the healthcare system was the number of long-term patients taking up general hospital beds. In at some facilities they made up as much as one-third of the patient population. To help ease the situation, the government turned to an existing, parallel patient care system: tuberculosis sanatoriums.

Since 1910 the province funded TB sanatoriums that were administered by the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba, (now the Manitoba Lung Association.) They supplemented public awareness campaigns, patient activities and research through their Christmas Seals campaign

Success in fighting TB and better treatment options meant that these facilities housed a fraction of the number of patients that they were built for. The province and Sanatorium Board reached an agreement to expand the Board's mandate and convert some empty beds at Ninette, Brandon and Clearwater into long-term care beds.

Old Central TB Clinic (Source

There were bigger plans in store for the Central Tuberculosis Clinic located at the corner of Bannatyne Avenue and Olivia Street in Winnipeg. Once Milton's Bakery, it was purchased by the Sanatorium Board in 1929 and converted into a clinic, administrative headquarters and research repository for the province's TB fight. (Winnipeg's main TB patient facility was the city-run King Edward Hospital.)

June 25, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

The parties agreed to demolish the clinic and build a $4.3 m Rehabilitation Centre dedicated to the treatment and recovery of the disabled and those suffering from conditions like arthritis and other diseases. It would be Western Canada's first such facility.

Left: Rehab Hospital. Right: Respiratory Hospital (Google Street View)

Moody Moore and Associates designed the 12,608 m² (135,711 sq ft) facility with three interconnected buildings.

The six-storey Rehabilitation Hospital contained wards that could hold up to 162 in-patients, the U of M's School of Medical Rehabilitation, outpatient clinics, a cafeteria and auditorium. West of the main tower was the narrow, four-storey Respiratory Hospital, (also known as the D. A. Stewart Centre), which housed the TB and other outpatient clinics with room for 20 in-patients.

Administrtive offices and therapy areas (Google Street View)

A single storey building runs around the periphery of an outdoor courtyard and provided space for the Sanatorium Board's administrative offices plus the occupational, physical and hydro therapy treatment areas. The basement level includes a parkade, central kitchen and a 97.5 m (320 feet) tunnel to the General Hospital.

January 21, 1960, Winnipeg Free Press

The Central TB clinic was moved to temporary space at the General Hospital over the Christmas holidays of 1959 to allow for the demolition of the old building. In May 1960 the construction contract was awarded to local firm G. A. Baert Construction and on June 6, 1960 the groundbreaking ceremony took place. Construction began immediately afterward.

Construction went well with one exception. In June 1961 two workers fell to the ground while pouring concrete on the exterior apron of the fifth floor. Both survived but were seriously injured.

With construction underway, attention turned to hiring staff for the new centre.

In May 1960 Dr. Leslie Truelove was appointed chief of staff for the hospital and the director of the U of M’s new School of Occupational and Physical Therapy, (the name was changed to the School of Medical Rehabilitation in 1962), that would occupy the third floor of the hospital when completed. Born in Sheffield, England, Truelove specialized in internal medicine and rehabilitation and was a research fellow at the General Hospital in Edinburgh.

The following year, Joy Huston was appointed chief occupational therapist. Born in China to British missionary parents, she studied in London and was the chief occupational therapist at the Rehabilitation Clinic at the Royal Northern Hospital in London.

Marjorie Spence was appointed head of the physical therapy department. Born in Winnipeg, she trained in Eastern Canada and served as a Lieutenant of Physiotherapy in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in Europe during World War II.

HSC Rehab Hospital

September 15, 1962, Winnipeg Free Press

The first section of the centre to open was the Respiratory Hospital and Central TB Clinic on January 3, 1962. By April, occupational and physical therapy began on the main floor. Other areas opened over the summer and on September 14, 1962 J. W. Speirs, chair of the Sanatorium Board, and George Johnson, provincial health minister, officially opened the centre.

In 1971 a provincial government report recommended that the various hospitals in the district, all of which had independent boards, be amalgamated into a single Health Sciences Centre to allow for the better planning of services and infrastructure. Legislation was passed and the HSC came into being on February 1, 1973.

Publicly at least, the Sanitorium Board had no hard feeling about losing control of the hospital that they ran for over a decade. They said that they would continue their research and could concentrate more effort on their next big campaign: the fight against smoking. Their offices relocated from the Rehab to Dublin Avenue.

February 5, 1973, Winnipeg Free Press

Not all of the hospitals felt the same way. On the day of the amalgamation staff at the Children's Hospital, founded in 1909, flew their flag at half mast.

Winnipeg's Rehab Hospital turns 50 ! West End Dumplings
Canada's role in fighting tuberculosis Manitoba Lung Association
Our History Health Sciences Centre
Health Sciences Centre Archives Museum Virtual Museum
A history of the Manitoba Lung Association Manitoba Lung Association


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