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THEN & NOW: Barrie General Hospital

Barrie's hospital was located at a few addresses over the decades

This ongoing series from Barrie Historical Archive curator Deb Exel shows old photos from the collection and one from the present day.

63 High St. — Barrie General Hospital

Barrie’s hospital started out in the east end, moved downtown and ended up in the east end again.

The first hospital in Barrie was established in the 1850s as a four-bed set-up in a house that stood at 105 Duckworth St.

The property was sold to the newly formed Barrie General Hospital committee in 1891 for $1,000. They were already planning the development of a larger facility.

On June 22, 1897, the Barrie General Hospital opened its 13-bed hospital at 63 High St., the former R.E. Fletcher house.

Hospital patients actually shared the house with the Fletchers until August, when the family moved into their next home, located at Bradford and Elizabeth (now Dunlop) streets.

The hospital was renamed Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) on Aug. 2, 1897, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Within two years of opening, the hospital had outgrown its High Street location. The Barrie Examiner reported in October 1902  that the Royal Victoria Hospital was so crowded that it was refusing entry to patients.

A new hospital location was selected and the property owner, lumber merchant Archibald Thomson (who in 1868 sold the land that was to become Queen’s Park), offered the hospital board 2.5 acres on the north side of Queen’s Park for a measly $650.

On March 5, 1903, the new Royal Victoria Hospital opened at 76 Ross St. 

The Victoria Village Seniors Retirement Community now operates in the Ross Street building.

RVH, which has since been renamed Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, opened in its current Georgian Drive location in 1997.