1878 – The Provincial Lunatic Asylum completed on 100 acres of Government-owned land (now
known as Woodlands) at the cost of $24,000. 16 patients transferred from Victoria on May 17.
1884 – North (East) Wing added. Eight new patients admitted classified with the following
disorders: nervous trouble, masturbation, injury to head, intemperance, fright, unknown.
1885 – Tennis lawn, summerhouse and cowshed built by patients. 21 new patients admitted classified
with the following disorders: religious excitement, intemperance, masturbation, money troubles, living alone, unknown.
1886 – Asylum garden produced 20,000 lbs. of vegetables, mostly through patient labour.
Resident population – 65.
1888 – Resident population – 80.
1889 – Third floor added to original building. North (East) Wing widened. South (West) Wing
and Central Administration Block added. Male patients housed in provincial gaol (B.C. Penitentiary) during renovations.
Hot water heating and gas lighting installed.
Resident population – 100.
1890 – Cellar excavated through patient labour.
Patient per capita cost: 60.5 cents/day.
1892 – Asylum connected to city water supply.
Resident population – 135.
1894 – Brick laundry built. All laundry done by Chinese patients. Commission of Enquiry revealed
widespread maltreatment of patients. Medical Superintendent resigned.
1895 – Gatekeeper's Lodge and new Medical Superintendent's residence built. Some electrical
lighting installed. Entrance from Columbia Street closed and road built to west corner of grounds.
1896 – Clean bathing water now available for each patient.
Resident population – 171.
1897 – Hospital for the Insane Act passed. Asylum renamed The Provincial Hospital for the
Insane (also known as "No. 9" for its address on Columbia St.). Maple Cottage built at cost of $19,500.
1898 – South (West) Wing completed and occupied. Oak Cottage built.
1899 – Additional new wing completed. Boilers for steam heat installed. Resident population
1900 – Additional new wing occupied.
Resident population – 310.
1901 – Last patients transferred from the Victoria Asylum die after 29 years in hospital.
1903 – Telephones installed.
Resident population – 349.
1909 – Patients have access to washrooms at night; chamber pots discarded. Surrounding high
board fence is replaced with cement wall surmounted by "a wrought iron fence of pretty design."
1916 – Weekly dental service begins.
Resident population – 518.
1918 – "Hutments" erected for care of patients with tuberculosis.
1920 – Drug addicts no longer admitted. Nurses' home built.
1923 – Causes of patients' death during this year: influenza, general paresis/exhaustion
of general paresis, exhaustion of senile dementia, pulmonary tuberculosis, exhaustion of acute mania.
1930 – Patient per capita cost: 72 cents/day.
1937 – Full-time dentist hired. First psychologist appointed.
1940 – Mental Hospital Act amended; references to "lunatic" and "insane"
1944 – Extensive remodeling in progress. School for "subnormals" under construction.
1945 – School building opened (later called The Old School).
1950 – Hospital renamed The Woodlands School.
1951 – Cedar Cottage built.
1952 – Pine, Beech, and Willow Cottages built.
1953 – School for Mental Defectives Act proclaimed.
1954 – First television sets introduced on wards.
1957 – Fraserview Building (300-bed pediatric unit) opens.
1958 – Recreation complex completed.
Resident population – 1250.
1959 – First group of residents transferred to Tranquille in Kamloops to relieve overcrowding
1961 – Resident population – 1436 (highest recorded).
1964 – Mental Health Act introduced.
1969 – Alder Lodge, annex to The Woodlands School, opens in Coquitlam providing pre-community
placement to 50 residents.
1970 – Beginning of relocation of residents to group homes, community placements.
1978 – Resident population – 890.
1982 – Woodlands to be closed by act of Provincial Legislature. Willow and Maple Clinics
continue in operation.
1994 – Charter of Patient Rights, the first in Canada, is approved. Patient Sexuality Policy,
also the first in Canada, introduced.
1996 – Majority of Woodlands programs and services discontinued.
1997 – Power to the Centre Building is shut off.
1999 – Provincial Government relinquishes any interest in Woodlands for mental health purposes
and the site reverts to surplus status.
2003 – Provincial Government apologizes to former residents for incidences of mental, physical
and sexual abuse it deems did likely occur over many years at The Woodlands School.
The Woodlands site is rezoned and sold to Onni Management Services for re-development as a non-institutional residential
2004 – Former Residents of Woodlands Survivors site:
To follow the development of the Woodlands site from institutional lands to the master planned
community, now called Victoria Hill please go to:
Information compiled from: "In the Context of Its Time: A History of Woodlands" by
Val Adolph, Woodlands Communications Bulletins, British Columbia Buildings Corporation, The Royal City Record.