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The Opening Ceremony of the Ross Memorial Hospital, November 20, 1902

February 13, 2024

Originally Published in the Lindsay Weekly Post, November 28, 1902

Thursday last was the day of days in the history of Victoria County, being the one set apart for the opening of the Ross Memorial Hospital and the presentation of the magnificently equipped institution to the people of the county by Mr. James Ross, of Montreal, as a memorial to the memory of his father and mother, who spent many years of their life as citizens of Lindsay.

It seemed as if Providence smiled upon the ceremony. The morning broke with rosy flush, clear sky and a radiant promise of a June day, and hundreds of the leading people of the district flocked into town to be present at the opening and to hear the address at the Collegiate Institute. Flags were flying everywhere, and the premises of many of our merchants were prettily decorated with Union Jacks and bunting in honour of the occasion.

Mr. and Mrs. James Ross and son, Mr. Jack Ross, Mrs. Peterson of Montreal and several other guests arrived from the east about noon in a private car, while a number of Toronto’s leading men and hospital experts reached town at 10:30 in a palatial chair car attached to the east bound express.

At 1:30 Mr. and Mrs. Ross drove to the Hospital. The driveway into the grounds was lined by the Collegiate Institute Cadets, who constituted a guard of honor for the occasion and looked smart and soldier-like. Mr. and Mrs. Ross were received and welcomed by the members of the Hospital Committee, including the following gentlemen: J.D. Flavelle, chairman; J.R. McNeillie, secretary; Judge Dean, Thos. Stewart, John Kennedy, J.B. Knowlson, Thos. Brady, Geo. Matthews, G.H. Hopkins, Sheriff McLennan, R. Kylie, J.M. McLennan, F.C. Taylor, H.J. Lytle, James Graham, Thomas Sadler, Alex. Ross, Richard Sylvester, J.A. Paddon, Robert Ross, Wm. Flavelle, R. Bryans, Mayor Ingle, W.F. Sutcliffe, A. Campbell, W. Dundas, W.T.C. Boyd, Wm. Channon, J.G. Edwards, Warden Austin, M.M. Boyd, A.E. Gregory, S. Britton and S.J. Fox, M.P.P.

The chairman, Mr. J.D. Flavelle, presented Mrs. Ross with a gold latch key, bearing a suitable inscription and made a few remarks of a felicitous nature, which the smiling and gracious recipient suitably acknowledged and then, unlocking the doors, in clear tones, she declared the hospital ‘open’ to the public. This ceremony was followed by the formal presentation of the deed of gift by Mr. Ross to the Warden of the County, Mr. John Austin, to be administered by the following Board of Governors: The Warden of the County, the Mayor of Lindsay, Mr. J.D. Flavelle, Mr. J.R. McNeillie, Mr. T. Stewart, Mr. R. Bryans, Mrs. J.C. Grace.

Magnificent bouquets of fragrant roses were then presented to Mrs. Ross and Mrs. Peterson, and a third bouquet was reserved to be sent to Mrs. J.C. Grace, a sister of Mr. James Ross, who has taken a deep interest in the hospital from its inception, and whose advice and assistance were highly valued by the hospital committee. Her unavoidable absence was regretted by all.

A hurried inspection of the fine building was then made, after which all repaired to the Institute to hear the address.  …

Description of the Building

Solidity of Construction and Perfect Equipment the Prominent Features.

For the better guidance of readers of this article who may reside at a distance, and who may receive from friends a copy of the Evening Post containing a description of the hospital opening, it may be well to explain at the outset that perhaps two-thirds of the good town of Lindsay lies in a sort of valley, flattened on all ends by Nature in order to afford a level bed for the winding River Scugog, which flowing gently from the vast reservoir of Lake Scugog, cuts the town almost in two in its passage north to mingle with the rivers emptying into Sturgeon Lake, down which the intrepid Champlain steered his bark canoe several centuries ago. East and west from the river banks the ground rises gradually, the more pronounced tendency being in a westerly direction. Kent St., the town’s main business thoroughfare—a noble avenue 100 feet in width—also runs east and west, from a point about 100 yards from the river bank. From the Post block, at the foot—or easterly end—of the street, to Angeline St., the corporation boundary, this fine thoroughfare measures exactly seven-eighths of a mile in length, the last half of the distance showing a decided ascent. A corner plot of three and one half acres of land on the north side of the street, and abutting the boundary, appealed to the members of the Provisional Committee as being the ideal site for the proposed building owing to its fine elevation and proximity to town waterworks, sewerage, and electric light systems. The choice was approved by Mr. Ross, a few days later, the purchase was effected, the plans were prepared by Mr. A.T. Taylor of Montreal, architect of wide reputation, and a few weeks later the contracts were let and work commenced. That was in May 1902. Every day since, then progress has been constant, and the last finishing touch was given Thursday morning, a few hours prior to the opening.

In its general design, the Ross Memorial Hospital does not copy after any other hospital in Canada, but combines several of the best features observed by Mr. Ross during a visit to the leading institutions of the kind in England. The combination has been cleverly worked out by the competent architect who was engaged, and a handsome and well proportioned building is the pleasing result. A really lavish use of the very materials, the closest attention to even the most trivial details, and a generous disregard of the cost of furnishings and appliances, have marked the construction and completion of Victoria County’s magnificent gift. The Hospital is nearly fire proof as science has yet made it possible for a building to be. The frame is steel girders from Pittsburg, Pa., the under floors of cement laid on expanded metal, and the partitions of steel lath attached to iron stuckling. Where wood is used for flooring the sleepers are of 2×2 cedars embedded in the cement covering the expanded metal, and the floors are double, the first course being matched pine and the second matched maple, oiled, shellacked and waxed.

The building stands on a little knoll about 200 feet back from Kent Street and 100 from Angeline Street. The gentle slope towards both roadways required comparatively little improvement at the hands of the landscape gardener already, the lawn presents a finished and attractive appearance. A broad gravel walk, with paved gutters, curves gracefully in a half-circle from the Kent St. corners of the property, the deepest portion of the curve passing the Hospital steps. The walls, of red brick, are built on a massive and deep foundation, on top of which is a five-foot course of rough dressed stone from Longford quarries. The window sills, keystones and a belting course outlined the second storey are of the same material and finish. The building has a front measurement of 142 feet, the main part being 80×60 feet, two storeys, with a wing or annex at the east and west ends 1 ½ storeys high and 28×32 feet in each side, the connecting passages between the wings and the main structure being one storey.

Both the main building and the wings have hip-shaped roofs covered with slate. The wings are octagon in shape at the back or north end, and in front of each a verandah or sun parlour of wood, octagon in design and supported on piers of Longford stone. Twelve large windows pierce the front of the main structure, the lower half being one sheet, and the upper being divided into five small panes elliptical in form. The other windows in the building are many in number and similar in design.

The main entrance is imposing and is covered by a wide porte cochere extending to the outside edge of the walk; it is supported on large wooden columns with Ionic capitals, resting upon Longford stone pillars, capped with Ohio freestone. Sidewalls of Longford Stone enclose the ten steps, 12 feet in width, which lead to the wide platform giving access to the handsome double doorway of oak, 2 ½ inches thick, with deep panels filled with English bevelled plate glass. The casing is of Ohio freestone, the top showing a large elliptic, the spaces above and on either side of the doors being filled in with glass cut in unique but orderly designs.

The entrance hall is a lofty apartment 12×15 feet in size. The walls and ceiling are of white hard finish, in keeping with the rest of the building; the floor is tiled in a handsome pattern, and the wainscoting is light coloured Pazinear marble, the frieze and base being Alps green marble. Immediately beside the entrance is an electric light enclosed in a handsome cut glass globe and in the middle of the hall is a cluster of three lights with globe of opal tint. The hall opens on the main corridor, which is also tiled, and gives a clear view of the stairway, leading to the second storey, alongside which provision has been made for an elevator in case one is required at a date in the future. The stairway is of Tennessee marble and has 27 steps and risers laid on metal strings. A white enamelled metal grille work, carrying a cherry rail, protected the faces of the stairway.

To describe each room in this magnificent building would take many columns of The Evening Post and would exhaust the descriptive powers of an artist-decorator. We must confine our efforts mainly to an enumeration of the various rooms, and a reference to the wards, operating room, and a few others. The ground floor corridor, 8 ft. wide, extends from the men’s medical ward in the west annex to the women’s ward in the next annex. Each ward contains six white enameled iron beds, six bedside tables, white enamelled frames and plate glass tops, a large double radiator with marble top, eight heavy oak chairs, oak writing desk with students’ lamp, and white folding screen to surround each bed. French windows give access to the sun parlour, where patients will find it a delight to rest in summer. Adjoining each of these ground floor wards is a convalescents day room, furnished with comfortable lounges, invalid’s chairs, rocking etc.

To the west of the entrance hall, on the front, is the Board Room for meetings of the Govenrors or consultations of medical men. The apartment is beautifully furnished, and is one of the most inviting rooms in the building. The room next beyond is the surgical ward for men, containing two beds and suitable equipment and furniture. The surgical ward for women adjoins their convalescent room, and the equipment is similiar. Next to it is the office of the lady superintendent, Miss Scott, from which a door give access to the entrance hall.

On the opposite or north side of the corridor, at the east and west ends, are commodious bath rooms, etc., with tiled floors, cathedral glass windows, marble wainscoting and partitions, nickel-plated exposed plumbing, British plate glass mirrors and other conveniences in keeping. Adjoining the east bath room is a store room for ward supplies, etc., and next to it, and opposite her office, is the lady superintendent’s bedroom. West of the stairway is the ward kitchen, the food being sent up by dumb water, from the main kitchen in the basement. West of this is the dispensary room, where a large supply of drugs and medicines is stored in large cabinets with glass doors.

North of the entrance hall, and reached by a short cross corridor, skirting the elevator shaft and marble stairway leading to the basement, is situated the nurses dining room, in an extension measuring 18×22 ft which is carried up in octagon form from the basement to the top storey. The room is a most inviting one with its three large plate glass windows set in the octagon faces, rich serge and lace curtains, Flemish oak tables, chairs and bookcase and rich square of carpet. Adjoining is a serving pantry, connected with the kitchen dumb water. The pantry contains a china cupboard and other necessary furnishings, and is lighted from the nurses’ rooms by means of a large window of fancy glass.

Ascending the stairway the visitor finds a tiled corridor of the same width as below, but considerably shorter, and lighted by a large overhead skylight in the centre. At the east and west ends, overlooking the front, are private wards, fitted to accommodate two patients, and immediately adjoining are two smaller wards for one patient each. They are fitted up in the best manner, and are enticing in their quiet elegance. Between these four wards, and overlooking the porte cochere over the entrance, is a large square apartment set apart as a day room for convalescing private patients; it is furnished in a most attractive style, and gives with the nurses dining room in its bright cheerfulness. A large French window and smaller ones on either side opens upon the porte cochere, which is railed for use as a sun parlour and will be covered with an awning in summer.

On the north side of the corridor, at the east end, is a bathroom similar to those on the lower flat. Next to it is the linen room, containing stores of lovely linens, blankets, counterpanes, Huckabeck and other towels, wrappers, night shirts, bath robes, material for bandages, etc. At the west end are the nurses’ bedrooms, with the ward kitchen adjoining

The Heart of the Institution

In the estimation of the medical men and staff, at any rate, the operating room is the heart of the hospital, and those qualified to judge, including the visiting physicians connected with similar intuitions, unite in declaring that no hospital in Canada can boast of an operating room so well equipped with the best appliances for aseptic surgery. The room is situated in the octagon extension, is 18×22 feet in size, with tiled floor and the ceiling is 16 feet high. Light is the great desideratum is an operating room, and ample provision has been made for it by the architect of the Ross Hospital. There is a large window in each of the side squares of the octagon, and ample provisions has been made for it by the architect of the Ross Hospital. There is a large window in each of the side squares of the octagon, and a huge sheet of best British plate glass fills the north space. The sheet is arranged to swing into a horizontal position by touching a spring, in order that it may be polished and also to afford ventilation when desired. Provision is also made for brilliant lighting by electricity.

The operating table is of heavy plate glass, with bicycle tube frame, white enamelled; it is mounted on rubber tired wheels, and surrounding it are half-a-dozen tube frame tables, topped with plate glass, while plate glass moveable shelves are arranged on brackets about the room to hold the instruments etc. In one corner of the room is a large instrument cam with glass shelves, in another a large marble washstand with various fittings in another a large high pressure sterilizer for the operators’ and assistants’ white uniforms, and a smaller hot water sterilizer for its instruments. It is impossible to describe more fully this grand room, which is destined to reflect much honor on Victoria County’s hospital. The room is entered through the preparation room, where anaesthetics and other aids are made ready for the operating surgeon by his assistants.

The Basement Plan

… In the basement are situated the commodious and perfectly equipped kitchen, servants’ dining and sleeping rooms, furnace and coal rooms, trunk room, storerooms, scullery, refrigerator room, soiled linen room, (opposite a chute leading from the top storey), large laundry, fitted with steam mangle, drying cabinet, stationary bath tubs, steam washer, rotary extractor, etc. In this room is located a 5 hp electric motor which supplies power for operating the laundry machinery, dumb waiter, etc.

Tea at Mrs. Stewart’s Home in Honour of Mrs. Ross, Guests and Visitors

While the public reception at the hospital was in progress a very brilliant event not less interesting was taking place at the home of Mrs. Thos. Stewart, Bond St. Mrs. Stewart, impersonating the Ladies Committee of the Hospital as its president, gave a tea in honour of Mrs. Ross, wife of Mr. James Ross, and the visiting ladies who were in her party. Her beautiful home was thrown open to a vary large number of out of town guests, as well as to the ladies of the Hospital Committee and the wives of the medical men and of the ministers of the town.

Shortly after 4 o’clock, a constant stream of guests thronged the spacious thronged the spacious rooms. The entrance hall was brilliant with lights, palms and ferns. The drawing room, in which Mrs. Stewart received her visitors, was a veritable bower of palms, around which smilax twined, ferns and pink and white chrysanthemums, while soft lights dispelled the darkening evening shadows. In the library, the decorations were red chrysanthemums, palms, begonias and ferns, and the pretty lights were covered with coloured fleur-de-lis shades, thus subduing the brilliancy. In the dining room, the table was very handsome, with its centrepiece of white background and violet border, and around which were scattered sprays of maidenhair ferns and American Beauty roses. On this centrepiece rested a large cut glass vase filled with white and yellow chrysanthemums, Silver candelabra with many lights smiled upon the dainty refreshments which the fair young waitresses were soon to dispense to the assembled company. The young ladies who were so attentive to their duties were Misses Flavelle, Deacon, Curry and Amy Flavelle. During the evening Miss Russell rendered in very sweet voice a solo, “Promise of Life,” by Clinton Bingham and Misses Amy Flavelle, Leary and Currie gave charming instrumental solos.  …

Hospital Notes

There are fully 100 electric lights in the building.

All ceiling corners and floor joists are rounded to prevent the lodgement of dust.

All storm windows are fitted on the inside, and will be replaced by Venetian blinds in the summer.

We are assured by the Board of Governors that we are safe in placing the total cost of the building, equipment, etc. at $80,000.

The late W.A. White had the contract for the carpenter work, and his death shortly before the opening is the only regrettable feature connected with the notable event.

Mr. Hogie, of Montreal, was the superintending architect, and the time character of the work is largely due to his conscientious oversight.

A stand pipe connected with the town waterworks is placed in the middle of every corridor, and there is sufficient hose on a shelf near by to reach 100 feet in either direction.

A handsome Cathedral clock, five feet high, stands on the first landing of the stairway, and attracted the admiring attention of all visitors. It was the gift of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Committee.

Likely only the lady visitors appreciated to the proper degree the rich elegance of the furnishing throughout the building. The china, every article of the linens, the blankets, etc. bears the monogram “Ross Memorial Hospital,” and are of special quality.

The plumbing and heating contracts were filled by Machinter & Co., Toronto, who also installed the perfect ventilating system. Registers in every room connect with large flues in the chimney shafts.

The operating room instruments were supplied by J.F. Harts & Co., of Toronto and Detroit, dealers in surgical instruments. The aseptic surgical furniture came from the Kay-Scherrer Co., New York. At a late hour Thursday night, it seemed probable that Miss Scott, the lady superintendent, would be the first patient. She was threatened with paralysis of the wrist and fingers caused by excessive hand-shaking.

The doors, window frames, cabinets, cupboards, etc., are of Tennessee whitewood, stained in cherry and highly polished. The chairs, tables, etc., are of Flemish oak, dull finish, and golden oak, in heavy patterns.

The Citizens’ band rendered pleasing music at the afternoon reception at the Hospital, and also accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Rose and visitors to the station in the evening. As the train began to move out the band, boys struck up that good old soul stirring air, “For Auld Lang Syne.”

The Toronto visitors who were so eulogistic in their praise of the Ross Memorial Hospital equipment are all eminent in their profession and qualified to speak as experts…

Ross Hospital Rules

The Board of Governors of the Ross Memorial Hosptial—Mr. John Austin, Warden; Mr. Geo. Ingle, Mayor; Messrs. J.D. Flavelle, Thos. Stewart, Robert Bryans, J.R. McNeillie and Mrs. J.C. Grace, held their first meeting at the Court House on Saturday. Mr. Flavelle was appointed chairman and Mr. McNeillie was appointed secretary-treasurer. The draft rules and regulations was considered and progress made with revision.

Visitors to public ward patients will be admitted on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2pm to 4 pm; on Fridays from 7 pm to 8 pm; and on Saturdays from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Patients in private wards may be visited by their friends at any suitable hours from 10 am to 9 pm. Others will be admitted on the request of a governor or physician, or in the discretion of the Lady Superintendent. Clergymen will be admitted at all times. For reasons that are obvious, visitors must see the nurse before entering any ward.

The charges will be: In public wards 40 cents per day; in semi-private wards $1.00 per day; in private wards $2.00 per day.

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