Status: Former Psychiatric Complex; Completely Demolished; Operational Mental Health Facility; Residential Subdivision
All Photos Below Courtesy of Craig M
The address provided above is for Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health – the hospital that replaced Whitby Psychiatric. The grounds of the former hospital are directly across the street. 1 cottage (patient housing) is the only structure left standing from the original campus. All other buildings and facilities were torn down in 2005-06 and residential homes were built on the site.
In 1911 the Government of Ontario put into plans a new insane asylum to replace a current facility in Toronto – the infamous 999 Queen Street West asylum (see Link to Toronto locations above). It would never replace the Toronto facility it did provide a modern – for the time – new facility for care of the mentally ill.
Between 1913 and 1916 most of the buildings and tunnel system were built – most by WWI German POW’s – but the Canadian Federal Government took over the site immediately for the use of convalescent soldiers returning from the battlefields in Europe. Control was returned back to Ontario in 1919.
The 624 acre (253 hectares) site was chosen due to its ability to become self-sufficient, access to cheap utilities and its location on the lakeshore with lots of fresh air. Patients were housed in cottages, rather than inside of a giant institution, allowing them much more freedom and access to sunshine.
There was a farm on site which took care of the asylum’s needs for meat, vegetables and milk. Patients were encouraged to work on the farm as part of their therapy. There was also an on-site power plant.
In 1920 a nursing school was opened on site and a 6 storey nurses’ residence was eventually built where southbound Gordon St turns right into Gordon St eastbound. The school remained open until 1972 when the nursing curriculum was taken over by Ontario’s colleges.
By the 50’s and 60’s the patient population of the facility began to drop from its maximum of over 1,500 as new medications were discovered and the focus began to move to at home care. The farm was closed down in 1968 and in the 70’s the number of patients dropped from 1000 to just over 500.
In 1979, after a study the Ontario Government, it was determined that a new replacement facility needed to be built. Construction was started in 1993, resulting in the demolishment of some of the administrative buildings of the original campus, on the lakeshore side. In 1996 it was officially opened as Whitby Mental Health Centre – now known as Ontario Shore – and the original facility was closed.
Until 2005 most of the old buildings still stood and were often visited by paranormal investigators and urban explorers alike. As is usual, the site also attracted many of people looking for trouble and committing vandalism.
Between 2005 and 2006 all the structures except one patient cottage were demolished and residential housing was built over the site.
In previous versions of this part of the article the paranormal activity was catalogued by building. With all the buildings demolished that would seem to be a futile effort; all paranormal activity reported at the old site will be grouped together now.
There are a number of rumours of violence in the history of this institution; some of which are true, most of which are not. Yes, a guard was murdered by a patient, that can be substantiated by newspaper and other articles. That a nurse was murdered by a patient who then killed themselves is substantiated by a number of stories of former employees – as is the story of a nurse hanging herself in the nurse’s residence. Due to the nature of the facility it is also easy to accept that there were a number of patient suicides during the time the facility was open.
As for the rest of the urban legends that once surrounded the ruins of this hospital – most of them cannot be substantiated either by former employees or patients and some of them are frankly ridiculous and, obviously, perpetuated by the many hoaxers that only went to this site to see if they could scare any visitors.
I was part of the group that did an in-depth investigation of this site for over a year. Therefore, I will first list what we witnessed – both on the physical and sixth sense level – first. Then I will catalogue a more generalized list of what both we and other people have experienced.
Apparition of the nurse that hung herself in the nurse’s residence hanging in the doorway of her former room. Limited interaction with the team from this apparition. On one occurence she grabbed the rope she was hanging from and used it to turn her face towards us. A chilling experience to say the least.
A team member was violently shoved to the ground by an unseen force. The photo above shows a black mist coming out of a window where the member was pushed. This photo was taken by the pushed team member immediately after it happened and has been exposed to a number of professional tests; no logical explanation can be found for the black mist.
The apparition of a pre-teen girl seen in one of the administrative buildings in a blue dress. She motioned to a team member to follow her into a room – she then held one finger to her lips. The team member followed her and found she had disappeared. There were no other exits out of that room.
Contact with an entity, through mediumship, calling herself Kaitlyn who claimed to have hung herself in the shower of an adolescent patient housing.
Multiple attacks by negative entities in numerous locations. This resulted in dramatic changes in the member attacked including noticeable changes in personalities, access to information impossible to validate from the past of the hospital, vomiting and other physical aliments and violent impulses.
Strange touches of something unseen that were curiously at waist level. This led to some confusion until we realized we were in the children’s housing.
Rooms moving physical location – sometimes into other buildings completely – or disappearing completely. A few rooms found and mapped we were unable to locate at all on other visits.
Objects moving on their own; objects disappearing and reappearing on other locations; phantom footsteps; shadow figures; touches, pushes and shoves by unseen presences; disembodied voices including hearing our names called and whispered; electrical disturbances and battery drains; light anomalies; empathic feelings of anger, fear and unease, time slips and feelings of being watched, not being alone and not being wanted.