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Muskoka Regional Centre

Sitting on a peninsula jutting into picturesque Lake Muskoka just north of the town of Gravenhurst, the remains of the Muskoka Regional Centre sit, decaying away and being reclaimed by nature. It's a fitting end that the building is consumed by nature, given the original purpose of the facility.

Location attributes for Muskoka Regional Centre
Location   Gravenhurst, Ontario
Built :: Closed   1897 :: 1994
Status   Abandoned
Difficulty   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The first building on the several acre property was built in the late 19th century, paid for partly by Gravenhurst and partly from three private investors - Sir William Gage, Hart A. Massey, and William Christie. Its purpose... to be the first tuberculosis sanatorium in Canada, as the way to deal with TB at that time was to isolate those with the disease from the healthy populace.

The Gage building, which is the large building on the property, was established in the 1920's to increase the bed count at the facility from 35 to 444. With it came additional facilities for research and staff quarters.

As treatment and prevention of TB improved, the sanatorium found itself being less and less needed. As such, in the 60's it was converted to a facility for mentally handicapped persons. It continued to serve the function of an isolated group home until the late 70's, when de-institutionalization became a political policy. This lasted until the final closure in 1994.

Since then, the facility has sat, rotting away. Parts have been used by the OPP for training, but there is no definitive schedule for when they will be there and when they won't.

The Gage Building is starting to show its age, however. One wing of the building is suffering from severe structural decay, with infrastructure collapsing from the ceilings and heavy mold growth. The other wings are also suffering from water damage and mold growth, so keep a respirator handy for this one.

But it is worth the trip, especially in the summer when the flora around the facility allow for beautiful shots. The other benefit of summer is longer daylight hours, which gives more time to capture the interior under natural light as only the ground floor windows and doors have been boarded over.

And also be thankful that isolating someone until death is no longer the way society deals with TB patients.

Consumption - August 2010
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