EDMONTON GENERAL CONTINUING CARE CENTRE

(Old Edmonton General)

11111 Jasper Avenue

(780) 482-8111

Status: Former Hospital; Hospice Facility

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This is an active continuing care and hospice facility and, while accessible to the public, these patients are living out the twilight – and in some cases last – days of their lives. It shouldn’t have to be said that these patients deserve the upmost of respect.

It is not practicable to do an investigation here. Many of the areas with the most reported paranormal activity are closed off and entrance is strictly forbidden. Permission would have to be given either by a staff member or Alberta Health Services to gain entrance.

Much of the information contained in the paranormal activity in this article is from personal interviews with staff and former staff.


History

The original Edmonton General Hospital was founded by the Grey Nuns in 1895. Previous to this Edmonton had no hospitals while Calgary (280 kms or 174 miles) south had two hospitals – this was due to the train going through Calgary but not Edmonton at the time.

Land for the hospital was purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company at a cost $2,800. A Mother Superior and 6 other nuns were brought in from both Quebec and Manitoba to run the hospital. The original building had 3 floors – one of the biggest buildings in Edmonton at the time – 1st floor was a ward for women, 2nd floor a ward for men and the 3rd floor an operating theatre and private rooms for the nuns. The cost of the original building was $30,000.

The hospital officially opened February 6, 1896 and by December had 31 patients. This being long before the days of Universal Healthcare people who couldn’t pay for the services were given to the doctor of the month while those who could pay were able to choose any doctor they wanted. Unless, of course, you were pregnant out of wedlock – then you could not be admitted period unless you had a great deal of money. The hospital was run by the Catholic Church after all.

The City did provide money for people who couldn’t pay for the services although they would continually cut that amount down as often as they could. The Territorial Government – the Province of Alberta did not exist until 1905, until then Edmonton was part of the Northwest Territories - only paid for new immigrants to Canada for a period of 12 months.

In 1905 when Alberta became a Province in its own right and Edmonton it’s Capital things began to change. The government began to get more involved in healthcare forcing the churches out and institutions like Nursing Schools were created in the early 20th Century. The advent of World War I did help the hospital financially with number of injured soldiers returning from European battlefields – renovations to the hospital where made at this time.

During the 1930’s the Great Depression affected the hospital financially but it also saw the beginnings of hospitals banding together in associations and the first hints of Universal Heathcare. It was also the first time the hospital administration – still the Grey Nuns – used collection agents to try to recover lost income. The private rooms were barely used at this time as no one could afford them. All planned construction projects to expand the hospital were halted in the Depression.

In an example of the worst possible timing during this time the 1895 building failed a fire inspection and the second floor had to be closed. In reaction to this the hospital formed an advisory board for the first time and administrative control began to slip from the Grey Nuns.

In 1940 a new 5 story building was built. This building still forms the core of the hospital as it is today.

World War II created massive staff shortages, all but crippling the hospital, but at least money was there again. Soon after the war oil was discovered in Alberta bringing financial security to many institutions in the Province they had never previously enjoyed. At the hospital, this allowed expansion and the formation of policies to protect itself from financial ruin. Then Universal Healthcare became a reality and changed the face of healthcare in Canada forever.

In the 1950’s and 60’s the hospital continued to expand while control transferred ever more so into the hands of the administrators from the Nuns and the Church. At the same time Alberta built a sanatorium specifically for the treatment of tuberculosis patients opening up multiple wards in the hospital.

In 1970 the Edmonton General Hospital was reorganized into the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre and focused on caring for elderly patients unable to care for themselves. Many wards were shut down at this time including the operating theatres and the pediatric ward and they remain so to this day.


Paranormal Activity

This hospital is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Canada. When just hospitals – not including psychiatric facilities – are considered it is only beat out by one other hospital - also in Edmonton (Charles Camsell Hospital - see above)

The building is divided into 4 wings A, B, C and Y.

A Wing is the original part of the hospital and used mostly as offices and storage at this point. A man dressed in all black including a top hat wanders the halls. He appears as solid as you and I and has been spoken to by many people. He generally disappears into thin air as soon as the witness is distracted or their view of him is blocked.

B Wing was the former surgical ward; it is now closed off. Although it has not been used since 1970 people still report the smells of sick people and a working hospital – ie antiseptic, anesthesia etc. There are also reports of witnesses seeing surgeries still taking place in the old surgery theatres – these scenes disappear as soon as anyone opens the door into the theatre. The floors still have stains on them from blood and other fluids.

In the basement an electrician was killed while working and still wanders the corridors below ground.

The former pediatric ward was converted into a ward for housing Alzheimer’s patients but had to be closed because the patients complained about the constant sounds of children laughing. The apparitions of children have been seen running up and down the halls here as well as in the patient’s rooms when they still used this ward.

A woman wanders the 6th through 8th floors who died during child birth. She seems to be spending eternity hopelessly searching for her lost child. The baby passed away shortly after birth.

While constructing a balcony on the 8th floor in Y ward a man fell to his death. His ghost is said to forever wander the floor.

General Reports: apparitions of former patients, doctors, nurses and nuns; pages going off in patient’s rooms randomly both occupied and unoccupied rooms; phantom voices, weeping, screams, moans, bangs and crashes; feelings of unease, not being alone and not being wanted; doors opening and closing on their own; electrical disturbances; light anomalies; phantom smells and time slips.


Testimonials

From CD

“I worked at a day program for disabled adults, and the general from 4-11. One night the person who was supposed to show up and relieve me, didn`t. That person was supposed to supervise both 8Y and 9Y over night, with someone from another unit coming to relieve me for a break. Everything is quiet. I did my rounds. All are sleeping. It was about 2:30 when I heard someone crying. I couldn`t find anyone. So, back to reading my book and trying not to fall asleep. I looked up into the diningroom and saw a man standing back in the shadows with the long black jacket, top hat, bushy beard… the guy EVERYONE has seen, but is no longer with us.”

From a witness to the paranormal activity at this location

“ It started by during a dull quite moment in the early morning, my friend used the rest room. It was there that she heard very distinctly the sound of two children laughing. it was so bloody early in the morning and we also had friends on the 5th floor, so we knew there was no way any kids could be there. What more she described the laughter as being “demented” or kind of warped, and then muffled talk from an elderly man. Perturbed she told me this story as well as our co-works who have worked here for several years. This news came as no shock to them as they all tell us this place is haunted. they share stories: like this one time they were all sitting in the staff room chatting, and a cup in the middle gets thrown across the room. Strange children laughing, pictures moving, cold feelings, shadows and eerie feelings. She goes on to tell us a few years back a nurse hung herself in the nursing room. she stated she will NEVER work night shift again. She also informs me that a client used to work here on this very floor several years ago. apparently it used to be a children’s ward back when polio was big and incurable. They used to pull out veins and a number of different out dated treatments.”

From LC

“I work at the General out here in Edmonton and I work in the old “abandoned” operating rooms and I can tell you it is very creepy up there. Although it is used as a file room for other hospitals as an off site location I have not yet had any encounters of any kind with ghosts. (key word YET!!!) I remember when we first started working up there we heard a lot of scratching and banging coming from one of the heating vents that is located near the floor. But as of about a week ago it has stopped. It’s relatively quiet now. I can honestly say it is quite an experience working there.”