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In pictures: B.C.'s Colony Farm hospital, then and now

The uneasy co-existence of a mental hospital and a first nations reserve

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Riverview Hospital’s East Lawn Building under construction, October 7, 1929. Established in 1904, Riverview Hospital is now part of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Colony Farm.

City of Vancouver Archives

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Director Johann Brink on the hospital’s setting overlooking the Fraser River: “There is no hustle and bustle of the city. It has a tranquil feel to it, which, I believe, helps patients in their recovery.”

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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View of Essondale on the slopes above Colony Farm, circa 1914. Essondale was named in honour of Dr. Henry Esson Young, the Minister of Education and Provincial Secretary who heavily advocated the new hospital.

John Davidson/City of Vancouver Archives

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In 1907, medical superintendent Charles Doherty tried a new way of treating the mentally ill. His experiment involved transferring patients from the New Westminster Provincial Hospital for the Insane to the new 400-hectare Essondale site in Coquitlam, where they were put to work. Male patients cleared forests at the junction of the Coquitlam and Fraser Rivers, and constructed dikes and 8 kilometres of underdrains.

Charles Stride/City of Vancouver Archives

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The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Colony Farm in Coquitlam on Nov. 29, 2012.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Portrait of Chief William Kwayhquitlam of the Kwikwetlem First Nation, which sits across from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Colony Farm in Coquitlam.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Dale Lessoway, lands and resource manager for the Kwikwetlem First Nation: “It’s just going to be a matter of time before something bad happens.”

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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