1871–1887: the Prelude


  • annual meeting of the provincial asylum superintendents at the Provincial Lunatic Asylum in Toronto, during which the new cottage system of asylums is discussed
  • this new plan uses a number of centrally administrated smaller buildings in place of one large asylum structure.
Provincial Lunatic Asylum in Toronto, 999 Queen Street West, Toronto.


  • Doctor Daniel Clark, the Medical Superintendent of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, begins to advocate for a a new branch asylum that he proposes should be located on a provincial farm in rural Mimico located just south of the shore of Lake Ontario
  • he also persuades the provincial government to sell twenty-five acres from the east and west side of the Provincial Lunatic Asylum and to use the accumulated funds toward the construction of a branch in Mimico.


  • convinced by Doctor Clark, Kivas Tully, the Chief Provincial Architect, along with Inspector O’Reilly, travel to the central and northeastern parts of the United States in order to investigate the cottage system, implemented in the architecture and the management of the recently constructed asylums
  • in August, O’Reilly continues his travels with the Honourable Provincial Secretary and together they examine a number of newly built asylums, including Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane in Kankakee and Middletown State Hospital in Connecticut
  • next, Clark and O’Reilly order Tully to travel there in order to obtain the plans and to research the ways in which the buildings are being administrated.
Middletown State Hospital, visited by Tully and O’Reilly in 1885.


Anonymous. “History of Ontario Hospital, New Toronto, Henceforth to be Known as Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital” [Unpublished, written by an unnamed patient with the assistance of John Sutherland, Chief Attendant, c. 1964].
Bond, Ian K. “History of Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital.” July 1976.
Court, John. “Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital–A Vital Part of the CAMH Legacy.” May 1, 2001.
Court, John. “Re: Humber College Timeline.” E-mail to Jim Graves. March 1, 2004.
Fisher, Honey R. From Vision to Legacy: CAMH’s Four Pre-Merger Institutions. Toronto: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2000.
“It All Started Back in 1890.” Rapport February 1975.
Ontario Heritage Properties Program. Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, Etobicoke, Ontario: N00406. April, 1986.
Paine, Cecelia. “Origins of Therapeutic Landscape Design in Ontario: Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital.” CSLA/AAPC Congress ’98. Accessed September 2, 2012.
Rogers, E.R. Esq., Inspector of Asylums, Parliament Buildings, Toronto. [Untitled].
“Volunteers Hear History of Psychiatric Hospital.” Mississauga Times May 5, 1971.

All primary sources retrieved from the Archives for the History of Canadian Psychiatry and Mental Health Services, January 30 and April 21–22, 2005. Images from the Archives of Ontario, Asylum Projects, RootsWeb, City of Toronto Archives, and from author’s collections. Additional information and corrections were provided by Ed Janiszewski and Ron McKinley.