Flashback Friday – Vacant Children’s Mental Health Centre
The province of Ontario has been serving people with developmental disabilities since the late 1800s. Starting with Huronia Regional Centre, Ontario’s first institution, it opened in 1876 and closed in 2009.
After the opening of Huronia, a further 15+ additional institutions were opened all over the province of Ontario, sadly this story doesn’t have a happy ending for many of the residents of these institutions.
One by one these institutions started to close as attitudes started to change. Society slowly began to accept that people with developmental disabilities didn’t need to be secluded in an institution; they needed to be included in a community. A new era where people of all abilities could contribute and participate in Ontario communities had begun.
On March 31, 2009, the government officially closed the last remaining institution, keeping a promise to end the era of institutionalization for people with a developmental disability and welcoming former residents into communities throughout Ontario.
In 2014 settlements were reached in a Class Action Lawsuit against residential facilities operated by the Province of Ontario (the “Province”) that provided care and support to persons with developmental disabilities from 1876 to 2009.
The lawsuits claimed that some residents of these Centres were harmed or hurt because the Province did not protect them.
This facility was a children’s mental health centre that offered services for children, youth and families with complex mental health, behavioural or developmental challenges, or who have experienced sexual abuse.
Officially opened in 1928, the first children to reside here were literally welcomes and brought there in a parade.
The closure of this facility by the McGuinty government in 2014 was met with a great deal of controversy and was likened to the closure of the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital
Considered a last resort for children and youth with complex mental health, behavioural, or developmental challenges, such as extreme autism, hospitals and community agencies have turned them away. The expert teams developed and delivered programs that work.
Today, 6 years after the last resident left, the buildings sit empty. while the Ontario tax payers foot the bill for:
– Power that still runs through the buildings
– Security guards that patrol and monitor the site 24 hours a day
– Cleaning staff who come in on a regular basis to clean the building (SECURITY GUARDS MUST BE MESSY!)
– Grounds keeping and lawn maintenance year round
The Abandoned Road