1970–1979: Last Years and Closing of the Hospital


  • March 21: the hospital becomes accredited by the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation
  • this indicates that meaning that the conditions in the hospital are reasonably good
  • however, the accreditation report specifies that the hospital buildings are antiquated and are continually deteriorating structures.
  • it is reported that the hospital has 545 patients and 729 staff members.


  • representatives of the Church of Scientology advocate against the use of lobotomy, electroconvulsive shock treatment, and drug therapy in the hospital, briefly succeeding in catching the attention of the public.
A sign that stood at the corner of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Kipling Avenue. Assembly Hall is visible in the background. 1970s.


  • Doctor Donald Ross Gunn crafts an ambitious “Five Year Program,” attempting to usher the institution into a new era of psychiatric treatment

Its main objectives include:

  • to totally reconstruct the physical plant of the hospital with contemporary hospital facilities, which would replace the antiquated cottage system
  • to organize a board of directors in order to become a public psychiatric hospital
  • to become a teaching hospital; to reduce the number of chronic patients, requiring long-term, continuous treatment, in order to become a fully active psychiatric hospital
  • to develop more adequate emergency and admitting services
  • to increase the scope of outpatient services; to improve existing partnerships with associated agencies and institutions and to create new ones
  • and to retain accreditation.

Doctor Gunn’s plan is never implemented and he retires the following year.


  • September 15: Minister of Health, Bert Lawrence, and Lakeshore MPP, Patrick Lawlor, are presented with a petition signed by six hundred citizens, who protest the treatment of patients at Lakeshore
  • an organization called “Mothers for Real Mental Health” leads this campaign.


  • R.C. Hansen, first non-medical superintendent, replaces Doctor Donald Ross Gunn, who retires
  • Humber College acquires the Teachers’ College and begins to renovate it
  • August: The Adveriser, a locally published newspaper, reports that patients Martha Morais and Nadia Machialovich commit suicide by deliberately drowning in the lake.


  • March 23: a young female patient, whose identity is not revealed, is reported missing.


  • Humber College opens Lakeshore Campus is on the site of the former Teachers College.


  • Frank F. Morin becomes the new superintendent
  • New Trades Building is erected.


  • April 20 or 22: a patient named Douglas Davis Harris dies at the hospital and his death remains unexplained.


  • L. Wayne McKerrow is appointed as the superintendent
  • the Cottages are renamed, with new names indicating the geographical area served
  • rumours start to spread, which indicate that the hospital may close.


  • Joe McMullen becomes the last superintendent
  • the roofs of all the Cottages are replaced.


  • January 22: Dennis R. Timbrell, the Minister of Health, announces that due to its “sub-standard” facilities, Lakeshore will close
  • instead, he promises an expansion of community-based, out-patient clinical programs that will replace the services of the hospital
  • August 15: the last of the 280 in-patients are transferred to the Queen Street Mental Health Centre (QSMHC), now known as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
  • September 1: Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital officially closes and partly re-merges with the QSMHC as a division
  • some patients are released and others are transferred to the QSMHC, Whitby and Hamilton Psychiatric Hospitals
  • at the time of the closing, there are 280 in-patients and a staff of 675
  • a variety of out-patient treatment and rehabilitation programs open as the Queen Street Mental Health Centre Lakeshore Branch.
An unidentified doctor with a member of staff, March 13, 1980


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.
The Executive, Volunteer Association, Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital. “Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Should Not be Closed.” Letter. Oakville Journal Record February 9, 1979: 5.
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.
Keefer, Alec. “Excerpt of Market Gallery Exhibition Didactics re Lakeshore.”
“Lakeshore Buildings Renamed.” Rapport 1975.
“Lakeshore to Close in Mental Health Reorganization.” Pulse March 1979.
“Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital Joins the Ranks of the Accredited.” March 2, 1970.
“Lakeshore Volunteers Meet.” The Advertiser April, 1971.
McKerrow, L.W. Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital: Submission to Committee on Mental Health Services, Ontario Council of Health. Etobicoke: Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, May 1978.
Melamet-Vetter, Walther. “The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, A World of Its Own, Another Coocoo’s Nest, In New Toronto.” Toronto: July 1989.
Ontario. Department of Health. Statement by Dennis Timbrell, Minister of Health and MLA for Don Mills. Metropolitan Toronto and Vicinity Mental Health Services. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 1979.
Ontario Heritage Properties Program. Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, Etobicoke, Ontario: N00406. April, 1986.
Sykes, Toby. “Uncertain Future for Lakeshore” Etobicoke Guardian December 10, 1975.
“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.