Monday, October 5, 2015

The Birth of Riverview

1906 photo taken by Philip Timms of the Public Hospital for the Insane in New Westminster. The white buildings are housing for the prison staff - the prison was north east of the asylum.

1910, same photographer as above and the same building.

Taken sometime in the early 1900's, Philip Timms took this photo of the Public Hospital for the Insane.

Entrance to the Public Hospital for the Insane at the corner of McBride and Columbia Streets.
Photos from the Vancouver Public Library collection.


Enclosed inside these walls one finds 
The shattered dreams of years. 

Enclosed inside these walls one has 
The cause of many tears. 

Enclosed inside these hearts one has 
The cause of many fears. 

Enclosed together, many think and strive 
To build a life anew. 

Enclosed inside these walls one finds 
Such suffering and tears. 

By L.S., From February 1967 Leader

The Mental Health Act brought the amalgamation of the Crease Clinic and the Essondale Provincial Mental Hospital, creating one facility - the Riverview Hospital. The name Essondale faded into history.

The glass sidewalk in Chinatown changes colours.

Ever since its earliest days, Essondale had been conducting research, informally. It was in the 1960's though that the research began to get widespread attention. Dr. Anthony Grenier's research into schizophrenia made valuable contributions towards understanding this mental illness.

“We wonder if the patients here at Riverview Hospital are aware of the fact that Dr. Anthony Greiner, Unit Director of North Lawn, through his research on schizophrenia has attracted world-wide attention, and some of his theories have lately been tested in debate at scientific conferences at several major U.S. universities. Dr. Greiner’s general hypothesis is that some cases of schizophrenia are a metabolic disease, and his work lives in this field…Many years of painstaking endeavour still live ahead, but in Dr. Greiner’s own words: 

‘This is the first time in history that there has been a positive finding in schizophrenia that we can work with, and that we will soon probably be able to use as a diagnostic tool. I think we now have a lead which has not yet been fully explored. I’m convinced it will guide us toward the solution to schizophrenia.’”

 February 1967 Leader

The nurses' uniforms at Riverview contrasted sharply with the bell-bottoms and miniskirts the young people in public wore.

The students could not have hair that touched their collar, no make-up or jewellery, except for small stud earrings. A nursing instructor carried a ruler and would measure to assure the skirt's hem was 2 1/2 inches below the knee.

By the late 1950's, the nurses were allowed to wear a white, one piece uniform, then pant suits then coloured uniforms. In the 1970's and 80's, a business dress code was allowed if the nurse was not working in the geriatric ward or medical unit at Riverview.

No more starched collars and caps.

Thanks to the PDF, Riverview, A Legacy of Care and Compassion for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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