August 19, 1930, taken by Dominion Photo Co. The kitchen block under construction.
Dominion Photo Co. took this photo of an unidentified group at Essondale Hospital in 1931.
Stride Studio is responsible for this February 13, 1929 photo taken at Essondale.
January 20, 1930 photo of the Farm Cottage taken by Stride Studios.
This collection photos from the City of Vancouver Archives
The training of nurses at Essondale hit its peak in the 1950s. In 1953, the Nursing School had its largest graduating class of 200 nurses. The training was rigorous, combining experience on the wards with classroom studies. Female students stayed in the residences, under the watchful eye of House Mothers. The male students were on an honour system and allowed more freedom. They were also paid more than female students were.
The Nursing Program in the 1950s was a three-year course with 300 lecture hours that included teachings ranging from first aid and fire precautions to pharmacology and psychology. The students gained practical experience by rotations in the wards at Essondale and Woodlands schools.
If male students wanted to visit the female students, they would wait at the front door of the Nurses' home when they came calling. Sometimes, the men would be invited to a sock dance in the reception area. Some of the better experienced dancers managed to stay upright while dancing in their socks on the slippery, hardwood floors.
The staff at Essondale also experimented with different therapies for their patients since they didn't always have the guidance of established methods. Some of those experiments had dramatic results - like the lead up to a Music Therapy program.
Don Cunnings Recreation Therapist, 1953-57
There were also sports days held at Essondale. The annual event was an important day. Patients, staff and family members would participate in the usual such as the three-legged race, the sack race and the softball toss. There were also unique events such as the doctor’s bandaging race. The patients and doctors would usually compete in a softball game, bands would play, a picnic would be held on the lawn. A big outdoor dance would complete the day.
I hope you find the beauty around you.