Digging up the past, opening a time capsule
Islanders find out today what’s hidden inside a time capsule from the former Prince Edward Island Hospital on Brighton road.
During the recent decommissioning of the site, workers uncovered a time capsule dating back to when the facility was originally built in 1932. The time capsule, complete with several items tucked away 87 years ago, was opened today and its contents revealed.
“This is an important piece of Island health history,” said Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward. “Many Islanders came together in the early 1930’s to build the Prince Edward Island Hospital on Brighton Road and over the years the facility not only served as a hospital, but also a palliative care centre and a manor for long-term care residents.”
“This time capsule is a reminder that we always need to learn from our past, so we can be innovative and continuously build towards a sustainable future,” the minister said.
The time capsule was uncovered last week in a small cavity beneath the corner stone of the old PEI Hospital, where it was carefully removed by staff from PEI Museum & Heritage, Transportation, Provincial Archaeology and the city of Charlottetown.
The main time capsule consisted of four items:
(1) several copies of the program for the laying of the corner stone (dated October 10, 1932);
(2) the book "An Island Scrapbook" written by Benjamin Bremner in 1932;
(3) the Summerside Journal paper, dated October 3, 1932; and
(4) a metal box (measuring 23 cm x 38 cm x 15 cm) full of documents, papers and coins (full contents enumerated in the attached backgrounder).
The department of Health and Wellness will work with local health organizations to determine how best to preserve and possibly display the contents of the time capsule.
Health and Wellness
Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy
Contents of the time capsule
The main time capsule consisted of four items: (1) several copies of the program for the laying of the corner stone (dated October 10, 1932); (2) the book "An Island Scrapbook" written by Benjamin Bremner in 1932; (3) the Summerside Journal paper, dated October 3, 1932; and (4) a metal box (measuring 23 cm x 38 cm x 15 cm
Contents of metal box
When the metal box was opened it was discovered that moisture had caused substantial damage to its contents. A local newspaper article from 1932 outlined the contents of the box included:
- Recommendations for composition of plan covering complete unit for the new Prince Edward Island Hospital. Signed by : B Evans Parry M.R.A.I.C, Department of National Health, Ottawa;
- Printed list of names of all men and women, county and city, who were active workers during the $250,000 fund-rasing campaign, October 1930;
- Campaign Treasure’s Nightly Report;
- Letter dated March 10, 1931 sent by Mr. W.F. Tidmarsh, calling a meeting of the Executive Committee;
- Letter of appreciation sent by Executive Committee to subscribers to the $250,000 campaign fund, and notice of first payment due December 1, 1930;
- Programme of Hospital Campaign Rally, Sunday October 19th, 1930 in the Prince Edward Theatre;
- Prince Edward Island Hospital Report 1931-32;
- List of those who have served on the Medical Staff since April 1883 up to October 10, 1932;
- List of Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers of the Ladies Aid Society serving the Hospital since its origin up to October 10, 1932;
- List of those serving as members of the Ladies Aid Society on October 10, 1932;
- List of the Building Committee of the New Prince Edward Island Hospital with the Architects, Contractors, Clerk of Works, Chairman of Campaign Fund 1923, Chairman of Campaign Fund 1930 and Secretary-Treasurer;
- List of Staff including Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Night Supervisor, Laboratory Technician, Dietitian, Secretary Treasurer, Nurses in training, Orderly, Engineer;
- List of Superintendents from beginning of the Prince Edward Island Hospital up to October 10, 1932;
- Newspapers including: The Charlottetown Guardian, The Charlottetown Patriot, The Pioneer, The PEI Agriculturist, The Island Farmer, and The Summerside Journal;
- The Programme of Laying the Corner Stone for the new hospital;
- Report of the Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island, A.F. & A.M.;
- Notice from Ernest Kemp, Grant Secretary calling a special communication for the purpose of laying the corner stone of the new Prince Edward Island Hospital;
- Letter from the Honourable J.D. Stewart, Premier to the Chairman of Laying Corner Stone Programme Committee;
- Copy of Chairman’s address at the laying of the Corner Stone;
- Coins: PEI one cent (Tree); Canadian one cent large, one cent small, five cent nickel, five cent, ten cent, twenty five cent, and fifty cent silver pieces.
History of the Prince Edward Island Hospital and the Prince Edward Home
The Prince Edward Island Hospital is a former acute care hospital that was located in Charlottetown. It was the first public general hospital established in the province and the largest health care facility.
The original Prince Edward Island Hospital was established by the provincial government on January 28, 1884 on a property known as "Haszard House" located at present-day 24-36 Longworth Avenue. The Prince Edward Island Hospital was predated by the Charlottetown Hospital, which was established in 1879 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlottetown. The city's residents demanded that the government open "a general" hospital that was not affiliated with a religious body. As such, the Prince Edward Island Hospital was frequently referred to as the "Protestant" hospital, however the facility was secular and had no affiliation with a religious denomination.
In 1891 the first nursing school in the province was opened when the Prince Edward Island Hospital School of Nursing was established.
In 1896 the trustees of the Prince Edward Island Hospital foresaw a greater need than Haszard House could provide and accepted the gift of Rev. Ralph Brecken's property at present-day 31 Kensington Road in the neighbouring then-rural community of Parkdale. Architect C.B. Chappell was commissioned to design and build the large brick building in June 1898 and it opened in March 1900.
By the 1920s it became apparent that the Kensington Road location for the hospital was becoming over-crowded, thus the provincial government built a much larger facility on the northern part of the Government House property adjacent to Victoria Park. This new building opened in 1934 at present-day 5 Brighton Road.
In 1969 the provincial government took over the operation of the Charlottetown Hospital from the Roman Catholic Church as part of the provincial development plan under Premier Alex Campbell. The Prince Edward Island Hospital and the Charlottetown Hospital were identified for replacement with a single modern facility.
In 1982, after 97 years of service, the Prince Edward Island Hospital closed its doors when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital opened.
In 1982 the Prince Edward Island Hospital building at 5 Brighton Road was re-purposed by the provincial government and called the Prince Edward Home.
From 1982 to 2014 the building was used for the following health care services:
- Palliative Care
- Convalescent/Restorative Care
- Respite Care
- Long-Term Nursing Home Care and Long-Term Medical Nursing Care
In November 2013 the new Prince Edward Home opened on Maypoint Road in Charlottetown and residents were moved to that location. The new Provincial Palliative Care Centre , which opened in 2014 on Murchison Lane, Charlottetown, has left the building at 5 Brighton Rd with no purpose and it is in the process of being decommissioned.