Thursday, December 05, 2019

1921 Essondale Census

1921 B.C.  District 16 Fraser Valley
Sub District:  22   Chilliwack
Essondale - Provincial Mental hospital.
Links to Federal goverment census pages....

page 1: Staff  
page 2: Staff & Patients  
page 3: Patients & Staff
page 4: Staff & Patients:  
page 5:  Patients
page 6:  Patients:  Adachi - Anderson  
page 7:  Patients: Anderson - Bonnett
page 8: Patients:  Boomer - Colquette 
page 9: Patients: Cook - Donnelly 
page 10: Patients: Donohhue - Glenn 
page 11 : Patients:  Gobert - Hogarth  
page 12: Patients:  Hoidge - Knight 
page 13: Patients: Knowles - McLean 
page 14 : Patients:  McWilliam - Norman 
page 15: Patients:  Nystrom - Puillandre 
page 16 : Patients:  Pulford - Simone  
page 17: Patients:  Simmons - Taylor 
page 18: Patients: Taylor - Willsi? Reginald  
page 19: Patients: Wilson - Zorich -- STAFF --  Bell - Emory  

page 20: Patients: Erickson - Zoulander:   Staff: Colony Farm
page 21 :  Staff: Colony Farm 

Total 941 males  67 females  1008 grand total

A 1921 Directory listing of people in the Essondale area, not necessarily people who live, and work at Essondale.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

First Officer Burton

Came across these two photographs at the Vancouver Archives...
CVA 586-5568 - F/O and Mrs. Burton, Essondale B.C.
Photographed on June 21, 1944 

  CVA 586-5569 - F/O and Mrs. Burton, Essondale B.C.
Photographed on June 21, 1944

I could not find anything about them, Burton is not listed in the Essondale Directories; so I am assuming that the lady has more of a connection to the hospital??.   Time will tell, once the BC Archives puts up the marriages from that year, only showing up to 1942, in 2019.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Two missing patients

No.1:  February 10, 2016 David Fomradas was reported on an unauthorized absence from a Forensic Psychiatric Services housing program located on the Riverview lands in Coquitlam, BC.
Mr. Fomradas is described as:

    Caucasian male
    38 years old
    5'11" tall
    156 lbs
    Blue eyes
    Long light brown hair
    Moustache and beard.

Clothing Description:

    Dark grey pants
    Brown sweater
    Black jacket
    Hat or toque (unknown colour).

Fomradas has the potential for violence when not on his medication.

David Fomradas

Not the first time this fellow has walked away:
Psych patient on the run from lawsuit
 A mentally-ill man who crashed a hijacked car and injured a Vancouver actress is being sued by his victims.

Blogged about these events before

Evidently a much tighter rein was needed with this fellow. They will be making movies about this fellow before we know it.

UPDATE:  This fellow was found at Lethbridge, Alberta after a one month sojourn from the hospital. 


No. 2:    On February 12th, 2016, Violet Miharija was reported as an unauthorized absence from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam. Violet Miharija is now wanted on a Canada wide warrant for being unlawfully at large.

Violet Miharija is described as:

    41 year-old female
    5’2’’ tall,
    178 lbs
    Dark brown shoulder length hair

Violet was last seen wearing a green sweatshirt, green sweatpants and white running shoes.

Violet Miharija

Appears that she has numerous charges laid upon her in the Surrey Court system

Friday, May 15, 2015

Essondale School

        For many years there were Grades 1-12 schools at Essondale, later Riverview hospital,  the hospital throughout the years also was home to many challenged children; and the staff who lived on the site had children of their own. The children of the staff and a few children who lived along the border of the grounds went to a small one-room school, located at the far western end of the property near the Lougheed Highway. The patients were schooled in various areas around the property,  and were further separated as to their specific educational needs.
I have only seen one photo of the "public" school and it was very grainy, I do not have a copy to share here.

       But I recently noticed the still  barely visible school in a two photographs of the Farm Cottage at Colony Farm.
Notice the light-coloured roof line near the fire hydrant on the left; that is Essondale School
 [ This is a small portion of a photo by: Stride Studios, 30 January 1930 Vancouver Archives A23166 ]

Provincial Mental Hospital - Farm Cottage - Essondale, B.C. - H.D. Crawford "Contractor"
The Stride Studios, New Westminster, B.C.  14 March, 1929     Vancouver Archives A23170
Essondale School is just above the fellow in lightly-coloured clothes, head.

If you went past the location today, you would have no idea that there was a school there, it is completely forested over, and a walk through the area would give you few clues that there was a school there.

Essondale School location marked in red.  this is a very small excerpt of a map of  Riverview Hospital/ Colony Farm created in the mid 1960's  ( Full sized MAP )

Site location today of Essondale School

Essondale School class photo 1950
Photo from the book: Riverview Hospital  A Legacy of Care & Compassion  (PDF)

“There was one classroom for Grades 1 to 12 at Essondale School. We’d go to the cannery at Colony Farm for field trips or our teacher would take us over to the Essondale grounds and get us to name the trees.”

Art Talbot;   Grew up at Essondale, 1940s and ‘50s

Very little information about the school can be found. In October 1916  Gilbert Mathewson, Dr. J.G. McKay and Gowan S. MacGowan were appointed school trustees for the next three, two and one years respectively.     I did see some letters about the founding of this school, the discussion went back and forth, about who was going to pay for it, the Mental Health branch or the local School Board, it appears that the Mental Health branch kept control of the building, since it is on Hospital property; and they billed the School board for the students that were NOT living on the property.  Originally the hospital wanted the school closer to the main hospital buildings, but the parents nearby wanted it nearer to the property boundary, because it was much quieter, and safer in their minds; this concession was met.  No idea when this school was closed, must be in the 60's, early 1970's when the Cape Horn Elementary was completed. 

Sadly the local school district 43 has done a terrible job of preserving their history.

UPDATE: found another aerial photo from 1947 that shows the school ( circled in red ) very well.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Otto Olsen Egelstad

On the 26th of August 1932 Otto Olsen Egelstad was injured by three staff at Essondale. So on the 9th of September 1932  an inquiry was ordered by the Province.   The Hon. Samuel Lyness Howe,( 1854—1939 ) was authorized to appoint a commissioner into the matter. 
Hon. S.L. Howe 1931
photographer: Steffens-Colmer
B.C. Archives
But within a few days the situation rapidly changed
1932 Sept. 14 The Vancouver Sun
3 Asylum arrests
Suspended guards held in death of patient

       Charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Otto Egelstad, a patient in the Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale, on august 26, three attendants in that institution were remanded for eight days by O.E. Walker, J.P. in Coquitlam Police Court at 11 a.m. Tuesday. [note: probably F.G. Walker ]
The patient died at Essondale last night at 10:40 o'clock.

      The three attendants who were released on $500 bail each, are Harry Maisoneuve, Maillardville; Malcolm McDonald, Essondale, and Archibald Lennox, Port Coquitlam.
The deceased patient, a Norwegian formerly resided in New Westminster. He had been at Essondale five years.
Dr. A.L. Crease, superintendent of the hospital, stated to the Vancouver Sun today that the three attendant had a struggle with Egelstad on August 26 after breakfast when a squad of patients were preparing to go to work in the fields.


     As a result of that struggle the patient was put to bed in hospital and the three attendants were suspended from duty by Dr. E. Ryan who was in charge at the time.
Provincial police and the Attorney General were notified and an investigation was conducted.
It terminated Tuesday and resulted in the arrest of the three men Tuesday afternoon.
      Dr. Crease stated that he cannot say whether the charge will be amended owing to the death of the patient but an inquest will be held although time and place have not been decided on.
Inspector John Shirra, acting assistant commissioner provincial police, was in charge of the case.


      Hon. Robert Henry Pooley,( 1878—1954 
) Attorney General, has ordered a complete investigation of the case according to a statement made by him in Victoria today.
"Eric Popler, departmental solicitor, returned from Essondale this morning where he held an inquiry under the Departmental Investigation Act, and I will have his report this afternoon," said Mr. Pooley. "Future action will depend upon the nature of that report"

——— 30 ———
1932 Sept. 17 The Vancouver Sun

Jurors urge gov't action
  Maillardville, Sept. 17.—A searching inquiry into circumstances connected with the death of Otto Egelstad, 47, patient in the Provincial Mental hospital, Essondale, was recommended by a coroner's jury here Friday afternoon.

        The jury returned a verdict that the patient died as a result of internal haemorrhage and injuries sustained in a struggle with attendants and that, while the injuries were accidentally inflicted, the circumstances should be thoroughly investigated.

       Evidence that the patient died as a result of internal haemorrhage and congestion of the lungs was given during the inquest by Dr. Archibald William Hunter,( 1882—1959 
) police surgeon of Vancouver, who conducted an autopsy.  

       He stated that five of the patient's ribs had been fractured, three on the left side and two on the right side.
This could have been caused by the patient falling and someone falling heavily on him during a struggle.
He testified that internal injuries suggested direct violence.
There were blood clots in the abdomen and a wound on the right side of the scalp.
No evidence of brain injury was discovered.


      Harry Maisonneuve, Maillardville; Malcolm McDonald, Essondale and Archibald Lennox, Port Coquitlam, former guards at Essondale who were dismissed from that institution and later charged with causing grievous bodily harm to the patient are under remand on bail of $500 each.
Dr. A.L. Crease, superintendent of the hospital, testified that he was on holiday when the patient was injured August 26.
He stated that Egelstad was admitted to the institution June 13th, 1925 and was of a quiet, sullen possibly erratic disposition, subject to delusions.   There are 2737 patients in the hospital he said.


Dr. Crease stated that Egelstad was leaving with a squad after breakfast to go to work in the fields.
He got in the wrong squad and attendant Maisonneuve pulled him out of that party.
Another patient passed a remark that irritated Egelstad who swung his fist, missed the patient but struck Maisonneuve.

       Maisonneuve and another attendant, Malcolm McDonald, grappled with Egelstad and all fell on the floor of the wash room where the struggle took place.
Attendant Lennox came to the assistance of the other two attendants and after the patient quietened down he joined the squad in the field apparently all right.
He complained of feeling unwell a short time later and was taken to the hospital.


      A report was sent to the attorney general at Victoria, Dr. Ryan recommending that the three guards be dismissed from the service. Dr. Crease concurred in this and the men were dismissed a few days later.
Inspector John Shirras, ( 1883-1968 )Vancouver detachment Provincial Police, was present at the inquest which was held in Coquitlam Municipal Hall, Maillardville.
Dr. Edwin Howard McEwen,( 1878—1957 
) coroner, presided.
Thomas Robert Selkirk,( 1896-1952 
) appeared for the Crown. William Garland McQuarrie,(  1876-1943  ) for Maisonneuve, and Adam Smith Johnston,( 1888-1948  ) Vancouver for Lennox. McDonald had no lawyer present.
W.G. McQuarrie, M.P. ca.1920  Maisonneuve’s lawyer
Photographer: Steffens-Colmer.
BC Archives A-02324
——— 30 ———
1932 Sept 22 The Prince George Citizen
Essentially the same as the article transcribed below

1932 Sept. 21 The Vancouver Sun

3 accused of Manslaughter

Maillardville, Sept.21—Charges of causing grievous bodily harm to Otto Egelstad, Essondale Mental Hospital patient, on August 26, against three former attendants were changed to manslaughter today.
        The patient had five ribs broken during a struggle with the attendants and died in hospital on September 13. He also sustained internal injuries.

        The three men are H. Maisonneuve, Maillardville; Archibald Lennox, Port Coquitlam, and Malcolm McDonald, Essondale.
They appeared today in police court here before magistrate F.G. Walker and were remanded until Tuesday.

        Maisonneuve and Lennox have been released on bail of $5000. McDonald, who was unable to raise this amount of bail is being held in Oakalla Prison.

——— 30 ———

1932 October 6 Medicine Hat News

Asylum orderlies committed for trial when patient dies in hospital from alleged abuse.
  Maillardville, B.C., Oct.2—Harry Maisonneuve, Malcolm McDonald and Archibald Lennox, former attendants at the Essondale mental hospital, will be committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of Otto Egelstad, inmate, who died September 3. E.G. Walker, J.P., announced this decision at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in Coquitlam police court here. They had previously been charged with causing bodily harm, before the death of the patient. Formal committal was postponed until October 8 to permit arrangement being made for bail.

      Dr. A.L. Crease, superintendent, appearing as a witness, said he had been absent when Egelstad was injured. In their report to him, the accused had stated that Egelstad was going to work with the wrong gang and Maisonneuve pulled him back. As he did so, another patient irritated Egelstad and the latter turned to strike him. Instead Egelstad struck Maisonneuve in the face. McDonald grabbed Egelstad's arms and the patient started kicking. the two attendants took him into an adjacent washroom where the scuffle continued until Egelstad was subdued. Near the end of the struggle Lennox came in and assisted.

     The attendants in their report said Egelstad did not seem hurt and went to work outside, but reported sick at noon.
Some days later, after an investigation had been held and the attendants discharged, Egelstad took a sudden turn for the worse and died.

     Dr. Crease testified that Egelstad was impulsive, erratic, subject to delusions and liable to become violent at times.
Evidence that patients at Essondale were liable to attack attendants at any time was given by Dr. Crease. He said that he himself had suffered a fractured arm once when struck by a patient with a piece of iron torn from a bed. the chief attendant and his assistant had been attacked and another had his eye gouged out by a violent patient.

——— 30 ———

1932 November 25 The Vancouver Sun

Supt. tells of violence
New Westminster, Nov. 25.—Patients at the Provincial Mental hospitals cause violent scenes and inflict severe bodily injuries on the attendants but this does not justify the guards using any undue force in subduing those under their care.
        This statement was made by Dr. A.L. Crease, Medical Superintendent at Essondale, during cross-examination in New Westminster Assize Court Thursday.
Dr. Crease is a Crown witness in the case in which Archibald J. Lennox, Port Coquitlam; Harry Maisonneuve, Maillardville, and Malcolm McDonald, Essondale, stand charged with manslaughter.
They are charged with inflicting injuries that caused the death of Otto Egelstad, a patient, Sept. 13 last.


       Cross-examined by Frank Lyons, defense counsel, Dr. Crease admitted that as a result of attacks by patients, attendants have suffered from fractured skulls.
Other injuries included loss of an eye, a broken nose and a finger bitten off.

     "Of course, that does not excuse the guards," he added.
Dr. Crease also stated that a patient once broke his arm.
At the time of the trouble with Egelstad, August 26, Dr. Crease was on vacation.
On his return he received a written report of the occurrence from the accused men who had been suspended.

The report stated that the gangs were proceeding to work in the hospital grounds. Egelstad started out with the wrong gang but was pulled back by Maisonneuve.
Another patient named Armstrong made a remark at which Egelstad offense, and, swinging his fist he missed Armstrong and struck Maisonneuve.


     Maisonneuve with the assistance of McDonald grappled with the patient and took him from the dormitory to a bathroom, a distance of thirty feet. Lennox then gave a hand in the scuffle that ensued.
Shortly afterwards Egelstad re-joins his gang but in the afternoon complained of being unwell and was sent to the hospital.

         Dr. A.M. Gee, in charge of the ward, stated that Egelstad was of a sullen, impulsive, erratic and quarrelsome disposition. He testified that he attended Egelstad. A medical examination revealed broken ribs and severe bruises.
The patient died two weeks later.
         Cause of death was internal haemorrhage as a result of injuries inflicted by violence, according to Dr. W.A. Hunter, who performed an autopsy.


       Lennox in a written report which was admitted during the trial said he went to the assistance of Maisonneuve and McDonald when he heard a loud thump on the door of the washroom. Maisonneuve said he heard no such bang.
Maisonneuve giving evidence on his own behalf today said he was unable to give any explanation of how Egelstad sustained the severe injuries which caused his death.
He recounted how Egelstad in the dormitory had had struck him and how McDonald and himself took Egelstad into the washroom.

        He said the floor had recently been washed and was slippery.
Witness said he locked the door to prevent other patients from interfering.
During a gruelling cross-examination by George Cassidy, crown prosecutor. Maisonneuve declared "Egelstad must have been injured in the afternoon for all I know."

     The scuffle between the patient and the attendants took place in the morning and evidence showed that Egelstad was working in the field in the afternoon.

——— 30 ———

1932 November 26 Vancouver Sun


Acquitted of manslaughter in Essondale death
New Westminster, Nov. 26.— Harry Maisonneuve, 40, Maillardville; Malcolm McDonald, 45, Essondale and Archibald J. Lenox, 23, Port Coquitlam, former attendants at Provincial mental hospital, Essondale, were acquitted of manslaughter charges by an assize jury Friday.

       Excusable homicide and misadventure was the cause of death of Otto Egelstad, a patient at the hands of the accused, the jury found. The jury deliberated an hour and ten minutes.

          The accused were immediately discharged by Mr. Justice William Alexander MacDonald,( 1860—1946 
His Lordship in addressing the jury said:

"In my long experience in law, I cannot recall a similar case. three men are charged with manslaughter and the Crown is unable to produce a dying statement from the deceased."
"The presentation of evidence given by mental cases to a jury would be impossible and of no benefit."

Justice, William Alexander MacDonald

Archibald James Lennox 1910—1990(a and b) James Archibald Lennox . Only a few months prior to this incident Archibald on March the 4th, 1932 married Florence Lois Lamb,( 1908—1987 ) But at his death James was married to Nora Cheney.

Malcolm McDonald, (1887? – ?)   He just disappears locally, although, his is a common name.
Harry Maisonneuve. Real name: Alderic Aristide Maisonneuve  ( 1897—1961)  He Served in WWI, C.E.F. 1287170  Two attestations exist, one where he has NO military service then a second where he miraculously does.
   Parents Wilfred Maisonneuve and Adda Pare
At New Westminster in 1926 he married nurse, Jean Miller Brown,( 1903—1966 )
After Essondale, he appears to have worked as a boom-man, then various sawmilling related jobs, retiring as head sawyer. He continued to live in the Maillardville area until his death.   Daughter: Lajrette Jean Maisonneuve 1932—1991   Son: A.Maisonneuve

Otto Olsen Igelstad  was born at Kvelsrudeie i jevnaker,Norway 5th of January 1885  and died on the 13th of September,1932  at Port Coquitlam.
father: Ole Eriksen (1840—1915) married in 1868 Anne Kirstine Andersdatter , they had twelve children
Otto Olsen Egelstad married in 1907 at Jevnaker, Norway,   Johanna Amelia Andersen.

They moved in 1907 to Potlatch, Idaho, then in 1909 to Vancouver, B.C., then to Cape Scott 1920,1921  after a short stay there they moved to White Rock, [ his brother Sivert / Seivert Egelstad, ( 1883—1962 ) lived in White Rock, his wife: Charlotte Stanley ( 1883—1954 ) ]
1922 they tried to immigrate to the U.S.A., but were debarred at the Blaine border crossing.  After a short stay in White Rock, the family moved to Surrey in 1928.  Otto was committed to Essondale in June 1925, he was 40 years old. 
Children of Otto Olsen Egelstad and Johanna Amelia Andersen:
Arnold Otto Egelstad ( 1914—1998 ) his wife Elsie Lavina Streed ( 1917—1977 ) they created ten children.
Ruth Helen Egelstad ( 1917— ? )  at New Westminster 1937 married Vermont Maeland Beckett, ( 1913—1973 
Henry Martin Egelstad  d.1997   married to Ruth, they had two children
Signe Mary Egelstad  ( 1921—
1986  )  married: William Gray Watson  they had two children. Oswald Arthur Egelstad  ( 1912 — 1967 ) married to, Mary West Evelyn Carrolla Egelstad ( 1910—1987  ) in 1928 she married Richard Frederick Thompson ( 1907—1979  )  five children 

NOTE:    Another sad story to add to the list; this was the first account of manslaughter at Essondale that I have found where staff were involved in the death of a patient, supposedly in their care.
       Mrs. Egelstad must have had a struggle, losing her husband and six young children to take care of.  I suspect the she may have remarried, after Otto’s abrupt death, since i could not find her name in B.C.

   It certainly appears in hindsight that the first two staff on the scene were guilty of something, especially “Harry” with his expensive lawyer; and we have McDonald who was imprisoned while waiting for the trial to proceed,  and Lennox who was last into the fray, and appears to be an innocent bystander in the matter.  Sadly justice appears to have not been done in this matter.   At least the hospital reacted quickly and fired all of them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hjalmar Dahlgren

       Written as, Hjalmar Dalgren on the death certificate, but I think that  possibly his real name would be Hjalmar Dahlgren.
Born on the 23rd of April 1880 in Sweden; he died at Essondale,
on the 5th of July 1917  home there would have been in the West Lawn building  The certificate states that he was married, worked as an engineer, and lived in Vancouver, and that he was in the hospital since the 14th of August 1913
Cause of death: 
general paresis   and a cerebral haemorrhage  signed off by Dr. A.L. Crease

Final resting place is in a cemetery in New Westminster, probably Fraser cemetery.

        This fellow has proved elusive cannot find a definitive reference to him anywhere, or his wife, whom I assume later remarried,  and his family name is frequently misspelled or has many variations in spelling applied to it.

Here is a small sample of the Dahlgr*/ Dalgr* found in the 1912 Directory

North Vancouver: Helmer Dahlgreen, laborer ( probably the best fit to Hjalmar )
Vancouver: John Dahlgren, laborer 1810 Powell
Knut Dahlgreen, blacksmith  room at 745 Dunsmuir

Possibly a close relative : August Dahlgren ( 1874 –
1947 ) numerous references to this fellow in the Chilliwack newspaper

NOTE:   This is a classic example of the death certificates not providing much information, and the records office at the hospital doing a poor job of documenting the information, and in turn the Births, Deaths, Marriages department of the Province, not asking for more information.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Robert Percival Ogilvie

Robert Percival "Nip" Ogilvie  born on the 13th of September 1897  Agassiz, B.C.

Robert, served his country in WWI, signing his attestation papers on the 17th of February 1917 at Vancouver, B.C.   2203336  Vancouver Forestry Draft, C.E.F., at the time he still lived in Agassiz, and was working as a teamster.

His parents:   Robert Ogilvie ( 1861 – 1903  ) and Annie Ellen Robinson ( 1865 – 1939 )
In 1924  Robert married Dorothy Isabel Gordon  he was a tire builder, and Dorothy was a teacher. 

Robert and Annie, had two daughters, Nancy Ogilvie and Carol Ogilvie
Three brothers:  George Albert Ogilvie ( 1892  --- 1963 )  (drafted WWI:  2140437    No.2 Company, 2nd Depot Battalion, B.C. Regiment.  )  He was married to, Olla Vaughn Cheyne

Lawrence Fletcher Ogilvie / Laurence Fletcher Ogilvie 1888 --- 1919 ) married in 1916 to Violet Edith Weaver, she remarried in 1921  Violet Edith Nelmes (1894 --- 1987 )

Alvin “Bon” Easton Ogilvie 
1900 – 1950   married in 1933 ( Paper announcement ) to Annie “Ann” Alice Stewart 


Four sisters: 
Anne Elizabeth Ogilvie  married in 1928  Charles William Berry ( 1899 – 1968 ) 
Ethel May Ogilvie ( 18901973  ) married in 1920
to Frederick Albert Wilson
Alice Gertrude Ogilvie ( 1893  - 1964 )    married in 1919 to,  Harry Wilson
Margaret Elmo Ogilvie  ( 1895 --- ? )     married in 1930 to,  Frederick Webster


Robert Percival Ogilvie  had a connection to Port Coquitlam for many years, he has the distinction of being probably the longest serving employee of the Gregory Tire & Rubber Company Limited;  and its various incarnations  from  at least 1924 to 1935 when it became the Huntington Rubber Mills.


The Chilliwack Progress 4 March 1942
transcribed below

Robert P. Ogilvie

     The death occurred Saturday evening of Robert Percival (Nip) Ogilvie, in his home at Port Coquitlam. He was in his forty-fifth year.

       Mr. Ogilvie was born and educated in Agassiz and served overseas in the last war. He was an employee at Essondale Mental Hospital.

      In 1924 he married Miss Dorothy Gordon, New Westminster. He was a well-known baseball player for various lower mainland teams. (his brother Alvin also active )

     Besides his wife he is survived by two young daughters, Nancy and Carol; two brothers, George, Agassiz; Alvin (Bon) Regina, Sask.; and four sisters, Mrs. Fred Wilson, Mrs. Harry Wilson, Mrs. C. Berry, all of Agassiz and Mrs. F. Webster, Regina.

      Funeral services were held from S. Bowell & Son chapel, New Westminster, Tuesday. Internment followed in the New Fraser cemetery. Rev. W.A. Guy officiated.

Died on the 28th of February 1942  Robert is buried in the New Fraser cemetery, in New Westminster, B.C.

B.C. order-in-council  10 March 1942:
     Robert Percival Ogilvie, attendant Essondale employed since 1 March 1937, died 28 February 1942, granted gratuity to his wife of $357, since not enough time in for superannuation.

Dr.Gee, middle of picture

Dr.Gee, middle of picture

BC Penitentiary cemetery at Woodlands

Links to an article in the Vancouver Sun, about the B.C.Penitentiary Cemetery at Woodlands in New Westminster. More Cemetery information, related to the mental hospitals, can be found at the Riverview Hospital Click-able MAP just click on the Cemetery area, found in the bottom right area of the map.
BC Pen graveyard article
Bloody escape left 3 dead
How Sook Sias found his way home

Dr.Gee,Medical Superintendent's report (ca.early 1950's)


of the


By: Doctor A. M. Gee, Essondale, B. C.

Click on Chapter headings:
Provincial Mental Hospital, New Westminster, B.C.
Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale, B.C.
Provincial Mental Hospital, Colquitz, B.C.
The Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine
Homes for the Aged
Child Guidance Clinics

It will be my endeavor in this article to present to you an over-all picture of the Mental Health Services of the Province of British Columbia, but before proceeding to this I wish to give you some idea of the magnitude of the problem presented by mental illness, something of the general nature of mental illness, and finally the means of dealing with the problem of mental illness..

In Canada, as in other countries, mental illness takes a very heavy toll. Mental illness is not just a matter of sanity or insanity but rather has many gradations ranging from minor emotional disturbances to complete and total disability. In British Columbia, as in the other provinces, the number of patients in the mental hospitals is equal to the number of patients in all other hospitals from all other causes. There is in Canada at the present time a total of 50,000 patients in the mental hospitals, while in B.C. we have at the present time over 5,000 patients being treated and cared for in our mental hospitals.

In 1947, 13,085 of our citizens were admitted to the mental hospitals of Canada, while in the same year, 1,111 of our own citizens were admitted to the mental hospitals of B. C. Let us not over-estimate this admission rate, however, serious though it may be, but rather direct our attention to the data concerning discharges from the mental hospitals. Of the 1,111 patients admitted to the Provincial Mental Hospital in 1947 we were able to discharge 935, while in 1948 of the 1,260 patients admitted 1,193 were discharged to return to the community. Over half of those discharged, in 1948 were hospitalized for a period of less than 4 months duration.

The cost of maintaining Canada's 43 mental hospitals is in excess of 26 million dollars annually. It is generally conceded that one person in 20, will, during his lifetime, be a patient for a period in a mental hospital, and in addition it is estimated that one person in every ten suffers from some type of serious emotional disturbance at some time in his life history. From these few figures it is possible for one to gain a general impression of the magnitude which the problem of mental illness presents.

On the brighter side of the picture, however, I am pleased to be able to draw your attention to real progress in the field of Psychiatry. In the past few years the mental hospitals have turned increasingly from the simple custodial care of their patients to a program of active treatment and prevention. While the mental hospital still remains the focus of mental health care, the centre of gravity is gradually shifting from the mental hospital to the community where there are, at present, rapidly developing systems for treatment and prevention.

Let us now direct our attention to the general nature of mental illness. Many of you have no doubt thought of mental illness as something strange and remote from your lives, something entirely different from physical discomfort or disease. "Health” may be defined as that condition of the body in which all of the functions are performed normally. "Mental Health" "may be defined as the adjustment of individuals to the world and to each other with a maximum of effectiveness and happiness. In a broad sense this is a very good definition of democracy and we might say that Democracy and national mental health go hand in hand.

Physical health manifests itself inside of your skin. Mental health manifests itself outside of your skin, in your thinking, your feeling, and particularly in your doing and interpersonal relationships. "Mental Health" be further defined as the ability to maintain an even temper, an alert intelligence, socially considerate behaviour, and a happy disposition. Mental or ill health exhibits itself in how you react in regard to life and death, joy and sorrow, blame and praise, love and hate, and fear. All mental illnesses demonstrate disorders in the sphere of the emotions. If a person is able to handle his emotions in relation to those who live about him and be happy, he is mentally healthy.

I would now like to present to you for your better understanding the true parallel that exists between physical and mental health; physical and mental illness. There are certainly as many degrees of mental fitness as there are degrees of physical fitness. Few of us claim to be physically 100% fit all of the time and few of us reach middle age without carrying some minor or major physical disability which to a degree interferes with our ability to function at our maximum capacity. Some of us suffer from minor disabilities which may incapacitate partially or wholly for a short period. Others again suffer from time to time from major disabilities from which we may or may not recover. Again, we have a group of physical diseases which require long periods of active treatment with partial recovery or arrest of the progress of the disease leaving a definite disability and a permanent limitation of function. Such a disease is tuberculosis.

In the realm of mental disease we have exactly the same situation. We all suffer at times from minor emotional discomforts or disabilities. Some of us suffer from more severe mental reactions which may incapacitate us for a time and which require hospital treatment but from which complete recovery is certain. Again, others will suffer from mental symptoms similar in severity to tuberculosis and for this a longer period of hospitalization and treatment will be required with a good outlook for arresting the progress of the disease.

In this mental illness, however, the patient will in all probability never again regain his efficiency 100% and like the arrested tubercular patient will need assistance in rehabilitation and in reorienting himself toward his life situation.

There are indeed as many disabling conditions in psychiatry as there are in general medicine and a true parallel exists between mental symptoms and physical symptoms, mental disease and physical disease. By following this close parallel we should be able to avoid the senseless, shameful notion that mental illness carries with it some social stigma. I would like to pursue this parallel just a little further in order that you may see how the various mental health services are grouped at the active treatment level.

Physical disorders of all types may be classified under the following headings:

1. Developmental defects - i.e.,congenital disabilities.
2. Organic illnesses - (including injuries).
3. Functional illnesses.
4. Infective or toxic illnesses.
5. Degenerative illnesses.
6. Public health - (preventive medicine).

Mental disorders of all types may be classified similarly as follows:

1. Developmental defects - i.e., mental deficiency and subnormality.
2. Organic mental illnesses - (including injuries).
3. Functional mental illnesses.
4. Toxic central illnesses.
5. Degenerative mental illnesses.
6. Mental hygiene - (preventive psychiatry).
In accordance with the categories set forth above our active mental hospital treatment service naturally breaks down into four main divisions.

1. Treatment and education of the subnormal.
2. The treatment of the acutely mentally ill - organic, functional, toxic psychoses (psychotic patients).
3. The treatment of those suffering from degenerative train conditions (senile, arteriosclerotic).
4. Preventive services.

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Provincial Mental Hospital, New Westminster, B.C.

This unit of the Provincial Mental Health Services functions as a training school for the mentally defective and at the present time has a patient population of 653 with no vacant beds. The function of this unit is, of course, the training of the mentally subnormal with the objective being to develop the individual to his maximum capacity. At this hospital there is a modern, five room special school which is staffed by seven fully qualified teachers. As part of the school there is a well equipped gymnasium and auditorium as well as special classrooms designed for the teaching of domestic science and the manual arts. In the program of this school considerable emphasis is placed upon the socialization of the children, employing recreational and social activities in this part pf the training program.

At the present time there is a program or expansion underway at the Provincial Mental Hospital, New Westminster, B. C., consisting of four modern type buildings each of which will have a capacity of approximately 100. It is hoped that the provision of these new buildings will make it possible to relieve some of the over-crowding and also to admit some of the patients who are presently of necessity kept on the waiting list until a bed becomes vacant.

Out of the total population of 653 patients, 140 are participating in the academic training school program. The teaching staff endeavours to provide a special teaching program to meet the individual needs of the population rather than to follow definite grade levels. In addition to the academic program great stress is laid on the teaching of domestic science and manual arts. Cooking, food preparation and serving are, stressed along with sewing, mending, and needle work. In the boys’ division opportunities are provided for the teaching of manual arts and for the older boy there is ample opportunity for learning the various industrial skills and trades associated with the operation and maintenance of the hospital plants.

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Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale, B.C.

This hospital is the largest unit of the Mental Health Services of the Province. It functions as the administration centre and headquarters in both medical and business administration. At the present time it is the admitting centre for all branches and all in-patients are admitted there and are transferred to other units. The first building was opened to receive patients in 1913. The Essondale unit has increased in capacity and size until at the present time it houses in excess of 3,600 patients. Consideration is being given now to the development of an entirely new hospital site to provide the increased care that will be required in the near future. The Mental Hospital at Essondale is classified by the American Hospital Association as a class A hospital. It is in all respects a fully modem hospital with excellent facilities for clinical investigation, diagnosis and treatment of all mental end neurological conditions.

In addition to medical and surgical facilities it offers the advantage of all accepted forms of psychiatric therapy. The occupational therapy program is well advanced, while the pioneering of our recreational therapy program has brought much credit to the Province of British Columbia.

Treatment within the hospital breaks down into,

(1) early and active treatment of the acutely mentally ill with a view to early recovery and rehabilitation;
(2) continued treatment for a large group of patients who will require a prolonged treatment period.
The Social Service Department is actively engaged in working with both of these classes of patients. The Psychiatric Social Service staff numbers ten and a representative of the department visits in the home of all patients admitted from the local area. Representatives of the Welfare Field Service visit in all other areas of the Province. Histories are submitted covering all contacts and activities of the patient in an endeavour to provide a longitudinal section of the individual's life in order that the psychiatrist may have understanding into all of the situational factors bringing about the illness. The individual social service worker keeps in constant touch with the patient during the hospitalization, and acts as liaison between the hospital and the home. Rehabilitation plans are worked out between the psychiatrist and the social service worker end after discharge of the patient further assistance and supervision is provided for him during the initial six month post-discharge period. To further assist in the rehabilitation of women patients a small home unit is maintained in Vancouver where the recovered patient may live a normal, unrestricted home life until she is able to find employment and be self-supporting.

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Provincial Mental Hospital, Colquitz, B.C.

A small continued treatment unit is located at Colquitz, Vancouver Island, housing some 287 male patients. There is no direct admission to this hospital, all patients in residence having been transferred from the hospital at Essondale. The Provincial Mental Home offers complete medical and psychiatric care along with a full program of occupational and recreational activities. Future plans call for the construction of a complete new mental hospital adjacent this site to serve the needs of Vancouver Island and adjacent islands.

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The Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine

This is a new fully modem building to house 325 patients. It is an-active treatment and teaching centre, bringing active treatment to the Patient suffering from the early symptoms of mental Illness in which recovery and rehabilitation may be anticipated within a four month period. The Clinic of Psychological Medicine is a distinct advance from the usual mental hospital type of treatment and is a step closer to the community and general hospital type of care. The clinic houses group specialties representing all branches of medicine, surgery and psychiatry, as follows:

1. Complete x-ray department covering all phases of radiology, including an x-ray surgical suite and special apparatus for cranial and brain studies.
2. Complete clinical laboratories equipped to carry out all types of clinical laboratory investigation, teaching and research.
3. A department of cardiology for the investigation of the heart and cardiovascular system together with instruments for the determination of basal metabolic rate.
4. A complete eye, ear, nose and throat department.
5. A complete neurological department with facilities for electroencephalography.
6. A department of physical medicine which includes all forms of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.
7. A modern surgical suite for both general surgery and neurosurgery.
8. A department of psychiatry covering all accepted forms of psychotherapy.
9. A department of occupational therapy with division for male and female patients and providing the necessary apparatus and instructors for a wide range of interesting crafts.
10. A department of recreational therapy staffed and equipped to provide recreational activities to suit the needs and interests of all age groups.
11. A library, housing standard and more popular current works of fiction, under the supervision of a fully qualified librarian.
12. Complete facilities for teaching and lecturing.
The Clinic operates under a separate act of the Provincial Legislature, separate and apart from the Mental Hospitals Act, This new act provides for the admission of voluntary patients who may themselves terminate their hospitalization at will. Otherwise it provides for the admission of patients on the certificates of two medical practitioners without any legal certification or loss of competency on the part of the patient. The maximum period of hospitalization during which the patient may be retained is four months. It is believed that this new intensive approach to the treatment of mental illness will bring psychiatry closer to other branches of medicine and, will do much to gain the confidence of the population in seeking early advice in such matters. It should do much to place mental illness on the same plane as physical illness and help to remove any stigma which uninformed people may have regarding sickness of the mind.

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Homes for the Aged

British Columbia was the first province to set up separate institutions for the psychiatric care of those aged individuals whose aging symptoms are predominately in the mental sphere. These buildings are of special design to meet the problems of caring for the aged. They are two storey, fireproof units with special ramps replacing all stairways. The grade of the ramp is such that it will permit comfortable walking as well as the use of a wheelchair or stretcher. Front entrances are ramped to spacious lawns for outdoor activities. All floor space including ramps is indirectly lighted by coved lighting at floor level. All ramps and corridors are provided with handrails. This type of building has received favorable comment from visitors from all points of the world.

The care of our aging population is rapidly becoming one of the major considerations at the present time. Chief reasons for the increased proportion of the aged in our population at this time are the great advance in medical and surgical care which have prevented death at an early age and increased the average life span. Two thousand years ago the average life span was approximately 25 years. In 1900 the average life span was 49 years, while in 1950 it is 66 ½ years. In 1900 one person in 25 was 65 years of age or older. It is estimated that by 1980 one person in 10 will be 65 years of age or over. Individuals now reaching superannuation age at 65 can look forward to an additional 12 ½ years of life. Unfortunately there is a considerable lag in the prevention and treatment of many of the degenerative diseases associated with the aging process, and particularly in this so in reference to those degenerative diseases producing mental illness in the aged. Much is needed in the way of research into this particular problem.

British Columbia has set up homes for the aged at Port Coquitlam where some 380 patients are housed and at Vernon, B. C. where some two years ago a new unit was opened to care for approximately 250 patients. In the near future it is expected that a third group of units will be opened in northern B. C. to serve the residents of that area.

The foregoing paragraphs have presented a survey of all the facilities for the "in care" of patients suffering from mental illness as operated by the Provincial Government. I would now like to direct your attention to the second aspect of psychiatry which is the preventive or mental health aspect.

Psychiatry was born put of jails, almshouses, and superstition and consequently has had to struggle to establish itself as a scientific practice. Even more difficult has been the establishment of sound principles of mental health. General public health measures can be applied to whole communities. Legislation may be enacted to insure a safe water supply and thereby eliminate many diseases. Living conditions may be improved. There are still, however, many people who dislike being told that they have to drink chlorinated water or that they may use only pasteurized milk, or that they must make provision against the day when they may need hospital care. In spite of these difficulties, by a process of public education it is still possible to deal with people in masses in matters of public health. Psychiatry and mental health, on the other hand, are largely matters of personal tutoring and individual education. In the not too distant past the psychiatric institution was separate and apart from the community. The psychiatrist was little more than the keeper of the keys and seldom emerged from his walled abode. Today we are trying to operate mental hospitals that are worthy of the name. We are now trying to move closer into the community and give service at the community level so that it will not be necessary to remove our patients from their community environment to an isolated mental hospital situation.

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Child Guidance Clinics

In the matter of prevention, it is therefore only natural that we should turn our attention to children and their parents. From the school system we are able to contact children in large groups. In 1934 we were able to set up our first Child Guidance Clinic unit. This unit consisted of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nurse, a psychiatric social worker and a stenographer. This basic pattern is still followed in the staffing of the clinics. The purpose of the Child Guidance Clinic is to help normal children who are presenting problems in behaviour, social adjustment, or education. Children may be referred to the clinic from the school or any social agency, the physician or the parents. There are at the present time four clinic units functioning in B.C., as follows:

One Stationary Clinic, Vancouver One Stationary Clinic, Vancouver - working with the Juvenile Court, Boys’ and Girls’ Industrial Schools and the Borstal School. One Traveling Unit, Vancouver One Stationary Unit, Victoria. In addition, the Metropolitan Health Board in Vancouver operates a Division of Mental Health with a similar type of unit functioning in the school. A second such unit is now being formed under the auspices of the City Health Services at Victoria.

To further radiate into the school system a pilot group of teachers is being trained to act as mental health coordinators. Already two such teachers have completed the one year of training at the University of Toronto, one being stationed in the Victoria schools and one in the Vancouver schools. At the present time two more teachers are undergoing a similar course of training.

The last link in the chain stretching from the mental hospital to the community is now being forged in the formation of the Canadian Mental Health Association with headquarters at Toronto. This mental health association is being developed under the guidance of Dr. Clarence M. Hincks, an outstanding Canadian psychiatrist who has devoted a lifetime to promoting improved standards in mental health care. It is planned to set up Provincial headquarters in each province and to have similar units formed in each community. In the future you will be hearing more of the plans of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

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