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(Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium) (Echo Valley Conference Centre)
On Highway 56
Status: Former Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Former Conference Centre; Completely Demolished
By http://library.usask.ca/spcoll/postcardsquappelle/fqlxx1207.html, Public Domain, Link
This was Canada's Waverly Hills. Unfortunately, Canada has a much more diminished sense of history than the US and this location has been demolished. It was also considered one of the most haunted places in Canada. Time will tell if that remains the same now that the hospital has been completely demolished.
Construction was begun in 1911 on the sanitarium but halted in 1914 due to the outbreak of World War I. It did not officially open its doors until October of 1917 as 60 bed unit on 230 acres. By 1918 it had become a 260-bed facility as patients with tuberculosis began to increase rapidly.
In 1919 a recreation hall and children’s pavilion were built (the children’s pavilion was torn down and a new one built in 1945). A school functioned on the site from 1922 to 1967 and a nurse’s residence was built in 1922. At its peak the sanitarium housed 368 patients and became entirely self-sufficient with a farm, post office, the aforementioned school and its own internal radio station.
By 1960 most of the beds were empty as the war against TB was being won with antibiotics. Even with the transfer of patients from the now closed Prince Albert Sanitarium in 1961 much the facility was being used as School for The Arts.
By 1971 the hospital portion of this site was closed and the facility was turned over completely to the Department of Public Works. Throughout the 80′s the site was used as a summer arts camp and convention centre. In 1992 the name was changed to the Echo Valley Conference Centre. In 2004 the site was closed and scheduled to be demolished.
In 2007 the site was sold to Echo Valley Resorts Ltd. Only 4 buildings – Main Lodge, Nurse’s Residence, Administration and Dr Jenner’s Residence – municipal heritage structures so all other structures have since been torn down.
The remaining protected buildings were suffering greatly from neglect and vandalism. The owners violated the law in not allowing inspectors on the property in 2013 and were issued a maintenance order.
It would seem the owners did not keep up the buildings as reports indicate all remaining buildings were demolished in 2017.
During the hospital’s years in operation an average of 40 patients died per day. If no family could be found the bodies were buried in the back hills with no marker.
Apparition of a nurse nicknamed “nurse Jane” is still seen wandering the halls and grounds, disembodied voices, phantom footsteps, reports of hearing your name called, apparitions of former patients, ghosts seen staring out of mirrors, feelings of being watched and not wanted, light anomalies, phantom mists, feeling of being choked and the sounds of wheelchairs still rolling through the hallways.
Feeling a heavy wait on your chest making it difficult to breathe.
7 Arthabasca Street
Status: Former School, Former Convent, Museum
The Sisters of Jesus and Mary were founded in 1816 in Lyon, France and first entered Canada 1855 in Quebec. The sisters were sent to Gravelbourg to take over teaching from the lay teachers. They arrived in 1915 and began teaching in a small chapel known as La Maison Blanche.
In August of 1918 they moved into their newly built convent.
For the next 52 years the young ladies taught here gained their education from the nuns who had been educated in Universities in New York and Massachusetts. The focus of their education was on music, drama and the sciences.
In 1926 two wings were built onto the existing building. They became College Thevenet which became part of the University of Ottawa in 1929. The nuns who were trained here went out to become teachers themselves in rural Saskatchewan.
During the Great Depression the school board could not pay the teachers yet they stayed on the job accepting promissory notes instead of money.
By the 1960’s there were so many students a separate high school needed to – and was – built. In 1970 the nuns sold the convent to the school board for use as an elementary school and retired to a house in the town.
In December of 2000 – with a great dwindling of numbers – the Sisters left Gravelbourg. The convent served as the town’s elementary school until 2016.
(The convent now sits empty hosting only a few events a year). We stand corrected the building is not empty. For a list of the occupants please see the Comment by Friend of the Convent below. So happy to see this unique and historical building being used.
A society dedicated to saving the very unique and beautiful convent has been formed and is working with the Province in hopes of not losing this historically and culturally significant building.
The 4th floor – former home to the dorms - has already been closed off for public safety it has degraded so much.
On the 4th floor – now inaccessible – is said to be haunted by a lady who makes her presence known by opening and closing doors.
A little girl – said to have died from tuberculosis – haunts the building. Her apparition has been seen and she is said to be responsible for the cold spots in the former convent.
A little boy – said to have disappeared in the building – is seen in the auditorium.
Other Activity: disembodied whispers; shadow figures; feelings of being watched and not being alone.
Testimonial by Friend of the Convent
Just so you know, the building is not empty. It is home to a music center, 2 art studios, 2 aesthetic businesses, an artisan co-op (artisancoop.ca), and a sewing room/office. The Gravelbourg Artisan Co-op hosts a winter market in the former chapel and a summer market on the grounds. The chapel is rented out for community events, receptions, and weddings. It is a huge building that will take a special investor to repurpose. It is haunted by the most benign spirits. I'd like to think they're happy to have the company!
Testimonial By Matt
I went to school here. I visited in December and took some pictures. Very positive I have a couple of ghost pictures.
1 Lake View Street
Status: Former Dance Hall, Restaurant and Bar; Completely Destroyed by Fire
This building was built in the 1960’s by Ethel and Archibald Grandison to provide a dance hall for teens in the resort town. The current owner actually spent his teenage summers at the dancehall.
When Archibald passed away Ethel sold the building and then Dale Orsted – the current owner – bought the building converting the main level into a steakhouse restaurant and the second floor into a cabaret in the 1990’s. This is also when the reports of paranormal activity began.
On September 11, 2021 the Moosehead Inn was completely destroyed by a fast moving fire. This was shortly after opening back up again after a 22 month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is apparently a financial effort to rebuild and reopen the business. The owner can be contacted via the above website if you would like help a piece of Eastern Saskatchewan’s history.
There was so much banging in the building Orsted called the police more than once thinking someone was trying to break in.
Objects not only move on their own but have a habit of disappearing – usually small things like ashtrays and glasses.
When the second story was being renovated deafeningly loud crashes were heard at night – they were so loud the noise was likened to a car accident. It was thought a large metal desk was rising up on its own and crashing into the floor.
Large amounts of electrical disturbances have been reported such as the lights going on and off on their own and the dishwasher starting on its own.
All the doors in the building have suddenly opened and closed in front of multiple witnesses on more than one occasion. The stall doors in the women’s washroom also frequently open and slam on their own.
Disembodied voices and moans have been heard in the building.
A medium has identified 3 ghosts in the building: a former cleaning lady, a young man who drowned and an older man who is thought to be Archibald Grandison.
It is unclear thus far how the fire and building’s destruction has affected the haunting.
65 Athabasca Street W
Status: Former Residence, Restaurant
This restaurant was the former home of Edward and Minnie Hopkins. Apparently, Mrs Hopkins loved her house so much she refused to leave even after death.
The apparition of Minnie has been seen all over the building but is most frequently seen in the attic.
She is also blamed for doors slamming on their own, candles levitating on their own and moving about a room, throwing food and silverware and feelings of unease and being watched.
2660 Central Avenue
Status: Former Jail and Execution Site; Burial Site; Municipal Park, Arena and Water Park
The south end of this 24 acre park was used to be the city jail and hanging yard.
Between 13 and 18 men were hung over the history of this jail and, at least, 5 of them are buried on the park grounds. If you were hung for your crimes at the jail and no one claimed your body you were buried on the jail grounds.
The modern day park includes a water park, softball diamonds, a soccer field, picnic shelters, an amphitheatre and much more.
Most paranormal activity is reported after dark, although this is probably due to the massive amount of background noise and activity during the day, rather than any other environmental condition. People doing recordings during the day, though, have reported phantom moans and groans underneath all the noise of people enjoying their day and the traffic.
Reported Activity: shadowy apparitions moving through mists; unexplained mists; disembodied voices; light anomalies; electrical disturbances; unexplained noises including moaning, breathing and knocks and feelings of being watched and having something unseen near you.
1 Jersey Street (New)
Battleford Road (Old)
Status: Former Mental Hospital; Partially Demolished (Old)
Operational Public Psychiatric Facility (New)
New Saskatchewan Hospital from Above
The original Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford – which is the first mental hospital in the Province – was founded in 1913 (built from 1911 to 1913). It worked in conjunction with the Weyburn Hospital – Souris Valley Hospital is covered on this website – to house and “heal” the mentally ill in Saskatchewan.
Prior to this, patients found with mental health issues were sent to Manitoba. Even further back when all of western Canada was called the Northwest Territories the Government of Canada wrote legislation for the new Provinces yet to be founded for the “keeping of dangerous lunatics in area” which was used to design and build the hospital.
Saskatchewan became a Province in 1905.
It was not just the mentally ill who were housed there but also those deemed unfit for society – like alcoholics, drug addicts and, of course, those that masturbated excessively – for which the institution was considered basically a holding room. The government had no where else to put them and certainly wasn’t going to put them back on the street.
This quickly led to overpopulation – as was true of all similar institutions worldwide at the time – with the patients peaking at 4,000 in 1946 at a facility with less than 1,000 beds.
In the 1950’s the treatment of mentally ill began to change and the massive asylums began to be replaced by psychiatric wards in hospitals. In 1961 the Mental Health Act was rewritten making it much harder to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and nearly impossible to stay long term.
By 1980 the hospital down to 300 patients and large areas were closed down in the building.
In 2011 it was announced that a new hospital would be built on the same site as the original hospital just north of the old building. It was built between 2015 and 2018 and opened on March 15, 2019.
The new hospital includes 96 bed secure ward for criminal offenders, a more home like design to downplay the institutional coldness and – like the original – is built right next to the North Saskatchewan River providing calming natural grounds for the patients to exercise in.
The old hospital was put up for sale but had no buyers. The city has demolished part of the building and seems to be planning to demolish the rest of it if no other plan can be reached.
In the old graveyard – which is gone now as they built the new hospital on top of it (more on that later) – unexplained lights were frequently seen after dark, disembodied voices and whispers were heard from behind the markers but when people investigate no one is there and misty forms were seen walking through the grounds.
In the 1930’s one of the hospital wings erupted in flames. Several patients had no choice but to flee into the freezing cold and at least one patient was badly burned. The woman burned died from her wounds a few days later and hers is the only official death from the event; many believe there were more fatalities that night. The apparition of the woman is seen walking the halls in the wing that burned as well as looking out of the windows.
It is unclear whether the wing that burned has been demolished or not at this point.
There are tunnels beneath the building where people say they were passed by someone while the hospital was open. The people (ghosts) would then quickly disappear and anyone turning to look behind them will find the tunnels empty.
Other Reported Activity: shadow figures; disembodied voices; apparitions of both former patients and staff still walking the halls; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; objects moving on their own; cold and warm spots; unexplained breezes and winds; phantom footsteps and smells of smoke; unexplained noises of every kind; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being alone.
As mentioned above the new hospital was partially built on top of the grounds that once housed the hospital’s graveyard. We have verified this with one of the construction workers who helped build the hospital.
What is unclear is whether the remains were moved first. Possibly, but unlikely.
That being said the basement is, logically, the most paranormally active place in the hospital.
Reports from the basement include: disembodied voices and other unexplained noises like scrapes and knocks; sudden and unexplained bright lights and streaks of light and overwhelming sensations of unease; being watched; not being wanted and not being wanted.
Faint see-through apparitions have also seen both in the basement and throughout the building.
Staff have reported feeling as if there is someone approaching them or standing near them only to turn and find no one there.
1880 Saskatchewan Drive
Status: Former Train Station; Operating Casino
This building was constructed between 1911 and 1912 and opened in 1912. Known as Union Station it was the city’s main railway station.
In the basement the building still contains prison cells used for holding prisoners prior to rail transport.
The building was once connected to a maze of tunnels that once connected many of the downtown buildings in the city. There is still evidence of these tunnels in the basement but the tunnel system was destroyed when the Cornwall Centre – a shopping centre – was constructed.
In 1931 the building underwent a major renovation adding interior marble support columns and a redesign of the façade.
In the early 1990’s due to massive financial cutbacks the station was closed despite recently being recognized as Canadian heritage site.
In 1995 a $37 million proposal was put forth to built a government owned casino in the building. In 1996 the casino opened.
The casino contains 800 slot machines, a poker room, an 800 seat auditorium and is one of the city’s largest employers.
The apparition of a woman is seen in the upper levels of the casino. This ghost, well her identity is unknown, is a long-term resident in the building; she was first seen and photographed in an empty room in 1930. A copy of the photo hangs in the casino.
In one of the cells in the basement the ghost of a former prisoner is seen. Apparently, he choose suicide as an alternative to a trial.
Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former railway employees; disembodied voices; doors opening and closing on their own; light anomalies; objects moving and disappearing and feelings of not being alone and being watched.
(Weyburn Psychiatric Hospital)
104-198 Saskatchewan Drive
Status: Former Psychiatric Hospital; Fully Demolished
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Bawchee&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:Bawchee (page does not exist)">Bawchee</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link
Needing another mental hospital – the first being Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford – the Province passed the Weyburn Hospital Act in 1911. Construction, though, didn’t begin until 1919 and the facility didn’t open until December 21, 1921.
When it opened it was – by far – the largest building in Saskatchewan.
The building originally had the capacity for about 1,000 patients but when 2 more buildings were constructed to the rear it could handle almost 3,000 patients and it became one of the largest buildings in the entire British Commonwealth.
The building did not just house the mentally ill in the beginning but also those deemed unfit for society and thus needed to be held in a central unit. Yeah, that should send a chill up your spine.
This hospital was (in)famous for it’s use of innovative techniques for ‘healing’ the mentally ill. Starting with hard work outdoors – such as a farm – and continuing on to hydrotherapy, lobotomies, insulin therapy and electroshock therapy. They even tested LSD on voluntary staff – which simulates schizophrenia – in order to promote empathy for the patients which then eventually was used for patient therapy for conditions such as alcoholism.
For 3+ decades many people in Weyburn leaned toward nursing – then psychiatric nursing – in order to get good paying jobs in their home community. This hospital quickly became the driving force of Weyburn’s economy.
In the 1950’s treatment of the mentally ill began to change on all levels. Treatment was beginning to move away from the large psychiatric institutions and toward places like halfway houses and hospital wards. By the 1960’s-70’s with the invention of anti-psychotic medications the end of the huge institutions was spelled out.
This particular facility closed down it’s mental health mission – switching to an extended care facility in 1971. The entire facility was closed and abandoned in 2004.
Despite numerous people and campaigns that fought to save this historical building the government – as they usually do - overruled the people’s wishes and demolished this facility completely in 2009.
The ghost of a female patient was frequently seen pacing on the 4th floor.
The former patients and staff who once walked the empty building now wander the fields and forests where the building once stood and surrounded it. Apparitions have even been reported up in the trees.
Shadow figures and shadow people now wander the deserted area as well.
Strange white and coloured lights are still seen coming out of the forest surrounding the site. Previous to the demolishment they were often seen shining out of the empty windows as well.
The majority of people approaching the building – now in the open field where the building once stood – experience intense empathic feelings of anxiety, sorrow, anger and overbearing fear.
Unexplained sounds including crying, laughter, screams, loud bangs, whispers, call buttons and everything in-between was heard in the abandoned wards and are now heard where the building once stood.
Other Reported Activity: disembodied voices; objects moving on their own; touches, tugs and pulls by unseen entities; time and dimensional slips; electrical disturbances; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone and being watched.