Snapshots from the
Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital
Images courtesy of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Archives, Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital (LSPH) fonds
Click on any photo below to see the full gallery
Mimico Branch Asylum (later Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital) opened in 1890 as a rural annex of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum (later known as the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.) The Mimico Asylum was located beside Lake Ontario with nearby farmland added soon after. In 1894, Mimico was administratively separated from Queen Street until 1979, when it was closed due to a broad movement to decentralize inpatient psychiatric care.
The history of this hospital provides us with an opportunity to remember and respect the psychiatric patients who lived, worked, and died here. In fact, the cottages and the grounds were built and maintained with the unpaid labour of the patients. And, just a few blocks north to the intersection of Evans and Horner Avenues, is the hospital cemetery where a little over 1500 patients are buried.
Our grounds’ past will lead us into critical conversations about mental health today. How can we care for our families, neighbours and friends while reducing the stigma around mental health that still exists?
People in the landscaped grounds of Mimico Asylum, later renamed “Ontario Hospital, Mimico, subsequently “Ontario Hospital, New Toronto” and then as “Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital” – a postcard view from about 1930, courtesy of CAMH Archives, Pleasance Kaufman Crawford fonds, F42.4.4.
The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital operated an agricultural program which partly sustained the hospital's operations through the first two-thirds of the 20th century. In this historic photo from the CAMH Archives, farm workers at Lakeshore are seen honing their agricultural skills through learning to use an early potato harvesting implement. Photo courtesy of the CAMH Archives.
The soccer team at The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in the 1920s, organized by the Superintendent at that time, Dr. Nelson H. Beemer, who was particularly keen on sports and other outdoor activities. Photo courtesy of the CAMH Archives, LSPH fonds, Dr. Donald Ross Gunn series.
This archival photo was originally a black-&-white snapshot that was evidently hand-tinted, as was frequently done before colour photography.
Through the form of occupational therapy, patients are working with fabric. The client on the right is operating a handloom to weave fabric. The purpose of such activities, whether in the late 1950s or today, is not simply for an “arts and crafts” hobby or to keep clients busy -- a popular misconception about Occupational Therapy. Rather, the goal of arts, crafts and other purposeful activities is to help clients develop or regain life skills. Click the link to view the full description.
An occupational therapist is seen working with two of her clients in the ceramics studio at Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in 1959. Photo courtesy of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH, Toronto) Archives, Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital fonds.
The Lakeshore administration building is seen on the right, with the entrance roadway and circular garden in the foreground, in 1969. Photo courtesy of the CAMH Archives, Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital (LSPH) fonds, Dr. Donald Ross Gunn series.
This photo shows the former superintendent's residence from the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital. The house is now occupied by the Jean Tweed Centre.
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