Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Childrens Ward 2018

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

In August of 1937 construction began on what was then known as the Ontario Hospital, St. Thomas. Built on the land of six area farm families, for the purpose of treating people with psychiatric illness, the hospital accepted its first 32 patients in April of 1939. By August of the same year, almost 1100 patients had come to reside at the hospital. Its greatest capacity with over 2,400 patients. Even before construction was complete, the hospital was known as the finest mental health hospital in the country because of its modern design. The site included 460 acres of land for the facility’s food and produce needs.

Shortly after the declaration of World War II in September of 1939, Premier Mitchell Hepburn and the Province of Ontario negotiated to lease the hospital buildings to the Department of National Defence in support of the war effort. By late October 1939, patients were relocated to other facilities across the province and hospital grounds became a training base for more than 60,000 air force personnel in the service, repair and maintenance of RCAF aircraft. At the end of the war the facility was returned to the Ontario Department of Health and restored to a fully functioning psychiatric hospital.

Upon re-opening in November of 1945 the hospital, in the words of Superintendent Dr. Lynch was “the most advanced in the Dominion.” By April of 1958, hospital admissions peaked at a total of 2238 patients. During this time, the facility pioneered many innovative approaches that supported patient health and well-being. One unique development during this time included the establishment of a 463 acre farm that provided staff and patients with the means and opportunity to participate in food production for the entire hospital.

The 1970’s through the new millennium was a time of significant change in the life of the hospital. Of notable interest was the introduction of the forensic mental health program in 1976. This period of time also saw the beginnings of mental health transformation. It was based on a new way of thinking; shifting care wherever possible, from an institutionalized model where some patients could spend long periods of time, often years, within the walls of a mental health facility to living productively in the community with proper support and resources.

In January 2001, St. Joseph’s took over governance of the former St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital. This reorganization of mental health care was ordered by the Health Care Restructuring Commission (HSRC) in 1997. HSRC directives also called for the divestment of a certain number of long term specialized inpatient beds from St. Joseph’s to hospitals across southwestern Ontario and the construction of two new specialized mental health care facilities, one in London and one in St. Thomas.

The state of the art hospital has been built on the existing lands in Central Elgin- next to and replacing the existing Regional Mental Health Care St. Thomas building. Opened in June 2013, the new facility, entirely devoted to forensic psychiatry, better supports staff and a recovery model of care for patients by creating healing environments, providing a neighborhood and community setting which allows for individual growth and skill development and enables patients to return to community living more successfully.

Short Version Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Video


Long Version Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Video

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital – 2015 Update and revisit

Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital – 2017 Update and revisit

2018 Explore of Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital – Final Building to Explore

This location, the Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital, I have managed to explore several times over the years, including an overnight where we set up hammocks in the forensics unit.
Of all the buildings and wings of this large former psychiatric hospital there has been only one building that I’ve not been able to explore and from the outside it looked to probably be the one with the most decay and natural destruction.
I was right
It was mid year and I was in the area and decided to do a drive through to see if this building was finally open, it is often opened up by local kids who want to go inside and goof around, but the maintenance people seal it back up just as fast as it opens.
I must have got there before the maintenance guys and I could finally see the inside of this one last building on the property.
Inside was an absolute mess, as I entered my face was attacked by cobwebs and the smell of abandoned was overwhelming!
St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital 2018
St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital Hallway 2018.

21 thoughts on “Urban Exploring The Abandoned St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital”

  1. I am absolutely obsessed with things like this! The only thing I didn’t like was you have to press the picture one by one and there is not even a little blurb explaining the picture or the history of it!! I don’t understand why there is not a lot more people who have not seen or commented on it. Its absolutely fascinating and so interesting. I would love to share this site. I will not do so until I have permission. So cool. Just wish I knew how you are able to get in these places and how you feel when you are there!? Thanks for your beautiful photos and the awesome eerieness behind them. A Fan Angela

  2. Laura L. Kelly

    Hi. First of all, I LOVE your photography. I have a website, it’s just not ‘done’ yet. I am an amateur photographer. Just getting started. I guess it’s a new-found passion/interest. I have a question for you. How did you get started? How do you get into these places? I went to an asylum tour today (Willard Asylum) and they only let us in a couple of buildings. I was VERY disappointed. I have MANY places I’d love to visit and I’d even be willing to stay the night in one (most people look at me like I’m nuts.) Is the only option to do it illegally? LOL

  3. Raegan Maisey

    The spookiest thing of all……that damn swing set!
    It’s funny, for a psychiatric center some of the buildings architecture and features feel really maddening…..rooms with big curves, and those corridors with the little round porthole windows, so weird.

  4. hi, I’m an urban exploration photographer. I’m wondering if I could get the “address” for this hospital? If you’re not comfortable posting it (I can understand why) I can provide my email? Thanks so much! 🙂

  5. Utterly fascinating captures of a most epic explore I’m sure. I am astounded by all the abandonment you have to choose from in Ontario. Are most of your explores day trips or are they longer in order to get to your destination?

  6. I saw tubs like that in the movie Frances Farmer. People were in them with what looked like a canvas cover over them. I don’t know if they made them get into ice water or what the purpose of the tubs was. I would like to know. In the movie, it shows a doctor performing a lobotomy. These were definitely places of torture.

  7. Terrina O'Kane

    I worked at this hospital for years . Even when it was in operation it was creepy .

  8. I can provide a little information for you, the image you have showing the large diesel engine hooked to a generator that has set into the concrete, with the small electric motor on the back comma isn’t early way to provide uninterruptible emergency power, the diesel engine is allowed to be kept at idle, call AC power is fed to the electric motor electric motor intern runs the generator in the center should there be a loss of power driving the electric motor the clutch on the diesel engine would automatically close within a half of a revolution of the drive shaft, the governor on the engine would kick in to increase RPM and the generator would continue making power running whatever was considered to be the emergency load, in both hospitals the emergency critical load was operating rooms and life-support systems, AKA ventilators bypass equipment elect comma you can find more information about the system’s if you look up technical material Corporation (TMC) they manufactured transmitters for the United States Navy and government comma this was a system they commonly used for uninterruptible power to their transmitters as I worked on one that was being taken out of service in the mid-1990s. Until the invention of high-powered scr and other solid state mechanical uninterruptible Power was all you had there were no battery powered UPS systems, until the early 1980s and they were extremely expensive or even a system able to backup just one operating room let alone an entire Hospital Ward.

    Also you have pictures of the main Steam Plant for the hospital, both facilities that size or heated with either hot water or Steam forced through radiators, the large green things with the blowers on the front are referred to as forced draft fire tube boiler, they look to be either natural gas or oil fired and I’m a fairly modern design probably late 60s to mid-70s I would say that each one is approximately 10000 horsepower equivalent normally steam is rated in either pounds per hour or horsepower.

    The pictures of the morgue that you have, are known as holding drawers normally there would be a large walk-in refrigerator where the bodies were kept on rack, until autopsy then they would be transferred to the holding drawers so it was easier for the pathologist to move them. The images we know from movies showing row upon row of drawers is hardly ever seen, for the exception of hospitals that were built in the 19 twenties and early thirties by the 1950s that system had gone it was now using large holding rooms.

  9. I worked in this facility for a few years. The building and grounds were beautiful! There are about 2 kilometres of underground tunnels that spanned the hospital and at one time under the roadway to the nurses residence across the road. There are so many stories of spirits and strange events and many staff would not walk the tunnels. The new hospital is beautiful but just not the same.

  10. Samantha LaRocque

    I Love this Sh!t!! I would also like to inquire about some of the metal tables and the furniture that was once inside this place.
    Can anyone go and check out the inside of this place?

  11. Victoria Wheeler

    My mother was a patient there from 1952 until the 1960’s or 1970’s. Not exactly sure when she was released as I never had any contact with her. If anyone knows how I can get any information I would appreciate it!

  12. Awesome video! I was passing by St. Thomas today and took some drone photos of the old hospital. After becoming aware of its existence I did a google search and your page came up. I think it’s great you do these videos. With my job I sometimes go into abandoned buildings, but nothing to the scale of this place. I’d be happy to share the aerial photos I took with you

  13. I come look at these photos around every six months but I always panic and leave. I spent some time here not long before it closed. While it causes me alarm to look at these pics, I find the periodic updates showing decay from the passage of time cathartic. All wounds heal, don’t they?
    If you have any questions about specific areas or rooms that haven’t been answered yet, I am happy to try and help.
    (What pleases me most is the flooded group therapy room. Die, bastard, die!)

  14. Just drove by today.. took a drive on grounds, didn’t realize how huge the place was.. I want to take my motorbike there and gets some pics but all the roads leading are blocked off

  15. Great pics. Remember a lot of this having worked there for a few years. FYI the pics with drawings on walls, colourful trim and outside toys were for a day care for staff children in late 1980s and early 90s in the south east last unit

  16. Larry Hallatt

    This facility is an asset that should be refurbished building by building by a volunteer group like Habitat for Humanity with Provincial and Federal funding for materials. It is a perfect location and place where new immigrants especially refugees could be temporarily housed, be given language and other supports and education to help settle into Canada productively.

    Why governments so often waste huge valuable resources is against sense. and we know common sense is one of the rarest things in existence today within our society.

    Just think how it could have been used in pandemics. Instead of killing tens of thousands in Canada when the pandemic closed down trauma care and elective surgeries in Canada over the last three years this complex could have taken the sick from nursing homes while alive instead of as the case was made for body bags by our politicians of every shade and political colour. Our public health leaders are fully incompetent. they learned nothing from SARS and nothing in the last Three Years and little positive adaptation has occurred or will occur as the Covid continues in 2023, 2024, and 2025 and another new pandemic evolves.

  17. I have been actively lobbying for the refurbishment and repurposing of this facility over the past two years. I submitted a lengthy overview report as to how it could done. I even gave the project a name – Elgin Crossing.
    Copies of my humble suggestion were provided to municipal, provincial and federal authorities with never an official response.
    Attempts to arrange for a site visit by interested contractors like EllisDon and other qualified restoration companies have never been acknowledged.
    My most recent suggestion was aimed at CMHC along with the same list of previous contacts, that Elgin Crossing could be designed as a Housing Co-Operative. I’m now waiting to see if I get a response.
    The fact that I am an aging retiree with no money and living on a government pension doesn’t help my cause. Attempts to set up a temporary Not-For-Profit organization has also fallen on deaf ears.
    I now fear that NIMBYISM or Ghettoization may be the lingering elephant in the room?
    Go figure!

  18. I would like to find and briefly interview anyone who worked at this hospital before 1960. My grandmother was a patient there from 1945 to 1960 when she died. I would love to find someone who may remember her.

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