Yesterday morning’s power walk took me down a familiar and famous road in our area.
This lane once led to the front doors of the Weyburn Mental Hospital. The institution opened in 1921 and became one of Canada’s most notorious psychiatric hospitals.
This was where the term “psychedelic” was coined by Dr. Humphrey Osmond, who used LSD to treat alcoholics. These experimental trials went on from 1953 to 1960. The trials piqued the interest of the CIA, who hoped to use LSD as a truth serum.
In 1971, the mental hospital closed its doors and the building was converted into a regional geriatric and long term care facility which closed in 2004. I nursed at this facility in the late 1970’s. The building was demolished in 2009.
At its peak, the building housed over 3,000 patients and staff. There is now a housing development and a state of the art long term care facility on the property.
As I was walking there yesterday, I wondered how many trips have been made up and down this lane, with staff travelling to and from work, supplies arriving, visitors, etc. I’m sure the number would be staggering.
“Our hospital was famous and had housed many great poets and singers. Did the hospital specialize in poets and singers, or was it that poets and singers specialized in madness?”
~ Susanna Kaysen