Buildings at səmiq̓ʷəʔelə
Over the past century, the site’s caretakers erected a range of buildings, many still standing. Of səmiq̓ʷəʔelə’s 69 buildings, 55 pre-date 1960 and are 60-to-100 years old. Since taking management of the lands in 2015, BC Housing has completed Building Condition Assessments for every accessible building on-site. This identified many areas in need of complex and costly repairs. BC Housing provides ongoing maintenance, repair and removal of hazardous materials within səmiq̓ʷəʔelə’s buildings.
- West Lawn
- Centre Lawn and East Lawn
- North Lawn
- Brookside/Leeside/Roadside Buildings
- həy̓χʷət kʷθə šxʷhəliʔ leləm (Healing Spirit House)
- θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’ (Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction)
Opened in 1913, West Lawn is the oldest building on-site. In 1983, West Lawn closed and remained unoccupied. To ensure your safety when viewing the building, please keep a safe distance from it. Access within the fenced area is strictly prohibited due to safety concerns. Trespassers will be reported to the RCMP.
Centre Lawn opened in 1924 next to West Lawn. It was originally known as the “Acute Psychopathic Wing.” It was designed by a different architect than West Lawn but is very similar in appearance. The four-story structure consists of reinforced concrete with red brick exterior facing. The main entrance utilizes a two-story portico with large columns and a balcony. The interior was renovated in the 1970s and, in 2019, it received additional upgrades, including roof repairs.
East Lawn, originally known as the “Female Chronic Wing” was completed in 1929 and opened in 1930. It is the largest building on site. The structure is reinforced concrete finished with a red brick exterior. The slate roof has a series of dormers, which BC Housing repaired in 2019.
In the first half of the century, overcrowding in Essondale buildings caused tuberculosis to spread quickly throughout the population living there. In response, North Lawn was opened in 1955 to serve Essondale patients living with TB. The building opened with a bed capacity of 230 patients. Over the next decade, the staff had success with treatment and prevention; the ward was operating as a 26-bed unit by 1964. It is a reinforced concrete building with three floors.
Crease Clinic was constructed in phases starting in 1929. The West Wing (originally called the veteran’s block) opened in 1934. It served veterans with mental health issues. In 1949, the building doubled in size with the addition of the East Wing, which would serve people with early signs of mental illness. It was then renamed “Crease Clinic” after Dr. Arthur Crease.
Crease Clinic is a four-story reinforced concrete structure – finished in brick, terra-cotta cladding and artificial stone. Until 1965 the Crease Building operated separately from Essondale Hospital. The two services merged following the adoption of the BC Mental Health Act.
The Crease Clinic closed in 1992 and has been a popular building for filming ever-since.
Boys Industrial School Cottages (BISCO)
The Tudor-style cottages were completed in 1922 as part of a much larger campus for the Boys Industrial School of Coquitlam (BISCO). In the 1920s, popular belief was that the behaviour of troubled youth could be corrected through hard work. In the early days, these youth were considered inmates, providing labour on Colony Farm. As this belief fell out of favour, the BISCO program shifted to educational programming and relocated. The cottages were repurposed in the 1950s for the Essondale School for the Aged.
Holly Drive Cottages
There are nine cottages that were initially built to accommodate various site staff. Cottage 106 was constructed in 1918 as the Farm Superintendent’s Residence. Cottage 108 (1927) was used as the Chauffeur’s residence and Cottage 110 (1922) was the Boys Industrial School Chief Steward’s residence. The cottages are currently occupied by tenants.
Oak Terrace Cottages
There are six cottages grouped along Oak Crescent to the north-east of the North Lawn building. They were originally designed as employee accommodations in the 1920s. Each cottage is a single-story wood-frame bungalow with projecting front gables and an entry porch.
All three buildings opened in 1949 as nurses’ residences. They are two-story wood frame structures with stucco finish. Brookside was renovated in 2014 to be used for mental health treatment. The Roadside building is currently occupied by tenants.
The building was designed in consultation with kʷikʷəƛ̓əm. It features several design elements that are important to both the Nation and the facility’s clients. This includes natural materials, plenty of access to natural light, culturally safe gathering rooms and Indigenous art in both the interior and exterior of the building. The facility also has an outdoor patio, fitness rooms and educational spaces.
θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’ (Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction) is currently under construction and is expected to be complete late in 2021. This 105-bed facility will be used to support adults with complex or concurrent mental health or substance use issues. It has design features to support trauma-informed care. These include:
- Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms
- Lighting that adjusts throughout the day to support people with atypical sleep cycles
- Natural light, wood, stone and warm colours to create a calm atmosphere
- Exam rooms with multiple exits for entering and leaving