For over 75 years, Vancouver’s Shaughnessy Hospital served veterans and civilians of British Columbia, providing medical care and rehabilitation services, and becoming a research and teaching centre. Library and Archives Canada’s photos and other records of the hospital document this evolving role, with images including patient care and rehabilitation, buildings and equipment, and staff and volunteers.
The hospital opened in 1917 as a convalescent home for First World War veterans. By 1919 it had increased its capacity for medical services and patient care to become a military hospital.
In 1941, a new 250-bed main hospital building opened, the first such hospital to be built by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Other facilities and additions were later constructed over the course of the hospital’s history.
In 1947 the George Derby Health and Occupational Centre opened in Burnaby to provide long-term intermediate care and rehabilitation services for veterans.Generally, the hospital provided ambulatory care, general acute care, intermediate and extended care, and rehabilitation services for veterans.
The hospital was also a popular destination for many celebrities, officials, entertainers, and royalty, who often went out of their way to visit patients when in Vancouver.
The Shaughnessy Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary and other charitable groups raised funds for equipment and supplies, and organized social events and entertainment.
LAC’s records of Shaughnessy Hospital consist primarily of photographs, as well as a small amount of other material. The hospital maintained its own photographic department, which allowed them to capture images of daily life and events at Shaughnessy, including images of staff, therapy techniques, tools and technology for the disabled, and patient recreation programs.
By the 1960s and 1970s, Shaughnessy staff began treating civilian patients in ever increasing numbers. In 1974, the hospital was sold to the province of British Columbia for $1. On February 15, 1993, the provincial government announced the closure of Shaughnessy Hospital, with its functions being divided and transferred to other Vancouver area hospitals.