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Report - Muskoka Tuberculosis Sanitorium (Gravenhurst, Canada - June 2013)

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by jerm IX, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. jerm IX

    jerm IX 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Drip, drip, drip, drips echoed all around us. The sound of bass-filled bloop bloop bloops bounced up the center of the stairwells and provided a beat for the dripping icicles and trickling icy stairs to melt to. It was a song. It was the aquatic sound of nature reclaiming The Muskoka Sanitorium, which was flooded and frozen to varying degrees on this mid-March day. The basement and first floor mostly frozen solid, the crunching of dry ice beneath our feet was deafening at times. The higher floors had up to an inch of ice and an inch of water either under or over the ice. Sometimes, as we stepped into a room, the water would burst up at the edges of the walls and approach our feet like Katrina engulfing New Orleans in slow motion, from every side. The fifth floor was completely flooded, the staircases melting from top to frozen bottom, where a colony of icicles laid claim to the railings and stairs on the lower floors. Thanks to a tip from Logtec, we were wearing ice cleats, which made traversing this slippery and soaked terrain comparatively easy.

    Between 1897 and the age of modern tuberculosis medicine, Muskoka Sanitorium housed patients in the early stages of TB. Those in latter stages were sent home. By the early 1900s the facility housed 444 live-in residents. The city of Gravenhurst offered $10,000 to a Toronto philanthropist to build the sanitorium in or around the city, trumping a proposal from a Kamloops BC businessman offering free train rides to the facility for TB patients anywhere in Canada, if it were built in Kamloops. The site on the shore of Lake Muskoka was reportedly chosen because of the clear fresh air. Treatment at the time required residents to spend 10-12 hours outdoors on the premises per day, despite weather conditions, which are scorching summers and bone-chillingly bitter winters in this part of Ontario. The average length of stay for a TB patient was between 1 and 3 years and segregation was viewed as the only recourse against TB at that time.

    As the disease was brought under control with vaccinations and advancements in treatment between the 40s and 60s, the government changed it's tune in favour of de-institutionalization and TB patients were gradually released. From then on, until it's doors were closed in the mid 1990s, the facility operated as a residential hospital for the mentally handicapped. Currently, while the Sanitorium succumbs to nature's wrath, the rest of the property is being used by the Ontario Provincial Police for SWAT and K9 training. Security is also on site...

    jermalism: Abandonment Issues: Muskoka Sanitorium

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