Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Asylum for the Insane / Selkirk Hospital for the Insane / Selkirk Mental Health Centre (Manitoba Avenue, Selkirk)

Link to:
Medical Superintendents | Photos & Maps | Sources

From 1871 to 1877, mentally ill people in Manitoba were incarcerated in an old warehouse at Lower Fort Garry. They were transferred to the newly-constructed Stony Mountain Penitentiary in 1877 then returned to Lower Fort Garry in 1885. The following year, a three-storey brick facility, whose construction had begun in 1884, opened at this site on Manitoba Avenue on the outskirts of Selkirk. Opened officially on 25 May 1886, the “Manitoba Asylum for the Insane” had a capacity for 167 people, of which 59 were brought from Lower Fort Garry, attended by Dr. David Young as the first Medical Superintendent and Miss Euphemia McBride as the first Matron.

The facility’s name changed to “Selkirk Hospital for the Insane” in 1910 and its current name is “Selkirk Mental Health Centre.” The original building was extended in 1900 and again in 1911. It was demolished in 1978. A commemorative monument on the site was constructed of bricks and marble from the building, and dedicated at a ceremony on 29 May 1986 by Lieutenant Governor Pearl McGonigal.

A two-storey red brick and Tyndall stone building on the north side of the campus, known as the North Unit Building, was constructed through the winter between 1929 and 1930 by St. Boniface-based contractor J. L. Guay. It was used as a receiving unit for chronic cases. The building is now closed and its windows are boarded up.

Medical Superintendents

Period

Medical Superintendent

1886-1912

David Young (1847-1931)

1912-1919

Joseph B. Chambers (1856-1939)

1919

Andrew Thomas Rice (c1857-1921) - Acting

1920-1943

Edgar Charles Barnes (1878-1945)

1943-1959

Edward Arnie Johnson (1902-1994)

1959-1967

Roy H. Tavener (c1926-1994)

Photos & Coordinates

Manitoba Asylum for the Insane, built in 1886 and demolished in 1978

Manitoba Asylum for the Insane, built in 1886 and demolished in 1978 (circa 1887)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Dorothy Garbutt Collection 165.

Original building at the Selkirk Hospital for the Insane

Original building at the Selkirk Hospital for the Insane (no date)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, George Harris Fonds, Acc. 1979-141, P7446, Album 2, Page 54.

Monument constructed of materials from the original building and unveiled for the centenary of the facility in 1986

Monument constructed of materials from the original building and unveiled for the centenary of the facility in 1986 (August 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Selkirk Hospital for the Insane

Selkirk Hospital for the Insane (1936)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, George Harris Fonds, Acc. 1979-141, P7453, Album 20, Page 44.

Selkirk Mental Health Centre

Selkirk Mental Health Centre (August 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Selkirk Mental Health Centre

Selkirk Mental Health Centre (August 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Aerial view of Selkirk Mental Health Centre

Aerial view of Selkirk Mental Health Centre (July 2020)
Source: George Penner

Aerial view of Selkirk Mental Health Centre

Aerial view of Selkirk Mental Health Centre (July 2020)
Source: George Penner

North Unit Building of the Selkirk Hospital for the Insane

North Unit Building of the Selkirk Hospital for the Insane (1929)
Source: Winnipeg Tribune, 26 July 1930, page 9.

North Unit Building of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre

North Unit Building of the Selkirk Mental Health Centre (August 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Commemorative monument for the visit of Pope John Paul II on 16 September 1984

Commemorative monument for the visit of Pope John Paul II on 16 September 1984 (August 2014)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.15398, W96.88747
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Brandon Mental Health Centre (First Street, Brandon)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Home for Incurables / Manitoba Development Centre (3rd Street NE, Portage la Prairie)

Sources:

“Contract for addition to hospital let,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 October 1929, page 3.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 November 2020

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

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