Welcome

The official name of the asylum by the lake in Etobicoke, Ontario, was the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital when it ceased to operate in 1979. It was originally known as the Mimico Branch Asylum, when it first opened. Between 1889 and 1979, it was also known as the Mimico Insane Asylum (renamed 1894), Mimico Hospital for the Insane (1911) Ontario Hospital, Mimico (1920), and later Ontario Hospital, New Toronto (1934). This site attempts to portray the long and interesting history of the hospital, as well as honour the memory of the patients that lived, worked, and died there.

The direction that this project has taken was directly inspired by Dr. Geoffrey Reaume’s book, Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870–1940, which is a seminal work on the history of psychiatric patients.

The name of this web site was inspired by Dr. Ruth Koeppe Kajander’s description of her time as a doctor at the asylum in 1952: although she admired the “lovely setting by the lake,” she was highly critical of the deplorable conditions in which the patients were forced to live.

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Recent Updates

March 13, 2011: Updated Maps. I have added images and historical descriptions.

February 20, 2011: I have set up Lightbox 2 for all the galleries in order to make the navigation easier. All the images on Flickr are still there, however.

January 26, 2011: Watch “Hellucidnation”, an experimental film by Romy Shiller, filmed in the underground tunnels of the asylum in 1994, prior to the renovations.

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Events

Lakeshore Asylum Cemetery Project invites you to “Spring Visit and Clean-Up”
Date and Time: Saturday, May 28, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
Rain Date and Time: Sunday, May 29, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
Place: Northeast corner of Evans and Horner Avenues [map]

To remember and honour in a dignified and respectful way the lives of the 1511 people buried in the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Cemetery and to acknowledge their contributions to our community.

We will be gathering to do some yard work and freshen up the grounds. Grass/hedge clippers and lawn-edgers will be useful. You are welcome to join us. Donations of artificial flowers would also be appreciated.

For more information, and to confirm the visit date if the weather is threatening, please contact: Deb Quiggin at 416-251-8666.

To get there by TTC, from the Royal York subway station take the #15 Evans bus to the northeast corner of Evans and Horner Avenues where the cemetery is located. Alternatively, take the Kipling bus south to Evans Avenue from Kipling subway station and walk east until you reach Horner Avenue.

If you’re driving, the cemetery is just south of the on-ramp to the Queen’s Elizabeth Way where Evans and Horner Avenues meet. There is a parking lot on the south side of the Evans Ave.

Please note: the cemetery is not wheelchair accessible, there is little shade, and no water supply.

Download the flyer [PDF format, 54 KB].

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The Asylum in Images

An unidentified doctor with a member of staff during an open house, March 13, 1980

An unidentified doctor with a member of staff during an open house.
March 13, 1980.

A sign that stood at the corner of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Kipling Avenue. Assembly Hall is visible in the background, 1970s.

A sign that stood at the corner of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Kipling Avenue.
Assembly Hall is visible in the background.
1970s.

Occupational therapy in Cottage 3, year unknown.

Occupational therapy in Cottage 3.
Year unknown.

Moorhouse

A volunteer with a patient at the Moorhouse.
1970s.

Asylum farm

Two patients at the farm of the asylum.
Year unknown.

Postcard of the asylum

A postcard of the asylum, depicting the bridge over the swale.
Year unknown.

For more photographs, click here.