Five years of plan­ning and per­sua­sion went into its build­ing

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

Ahospital at Alexandria that would serve Glen­garry res­i­dents was first se­ri­ously sug­gested by mem­bers of the Alexandria Royal Cana­dian Le­gion branch some years fol­low­ing the end of World War II.

The le­gion­naires sug­gested that the es­tab­lish­ment of a hos­pi­tal would be a fit­ting way to hon­our the mem­ory of those who died in two world wars.

Mayor Ge­orge Si­mon, who would pass away be­fore the hos­pi­tal be­came a re­al­ity, con­vened a public meet­ing June 9, 1960 in the court­room of the Public Util­i­ties build­ing.

When some 250 Alexandria and area res­i­dents turned out, the court­room was found to be to­tally in­ad­e­quate and an ad­journ­ment was made to Alexan­der Hall, where rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils of Glen­garry, mem­bers of the clergy and the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion, heartily en­dorsed the idea of a hos­pi­tal here.

The spe­cial guest speaker was John K. (Jack) Jamieson, of Toronto, head of the Hos­pi­tal Grants Sec­tion of the On­tario Hos­pi­tal Ser­vices Com­mis­sion. An Alexandria res­i­dent for five years in the 1930s while em­ployed with the Coun­ties Health Unit, Mr. Jamieson de­tailed the grants avail­able and the var­i­ous ap­proaches to build­ing a hos­pi­tal.

A steer­ing com­mit­tee was formed. Chaired by G.G. Aubry, the body was com­prised of Mayor Si­mon, Bruno Massie and Elie David.

Each mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil en­dorsed the pro­ject.

The char­ter was ap­plied for Jan­uary 24, 1961 and was re­ceived in March of that year.

The 12 in­terim di­rec­tors were Mr. Si­mon, Alexandria Reeve Lloyd McHugh, Lochiel Reeve Roy MacMil­lan, Kenyon Reeve D. A. Gray, Char­lot­ten­burgh Reeve Ger­ard Brunet, Lan­caster Coun­cil­lor Alex MacNaughton, Maxville Reeve J. N. Fitzger­ald, Lan­caster Reeve T. Scott Fraser, Lau­rent Si­card, Elie David, G.G. Aubry and Bruno Massie, of Alexandria.

A con­sti­tu­tion was drawn up by S.E. Fen­nell, QC, of Cornwall. The nine-acre site was se­lected and op­tioned in Oc­to­ber of that year.

The Cornwall firm of Leblanc and Martin was en­gaged as ar­chi­tects in Novem­ber and there was ev­ery hope that the sod-turn­ing would take place for 1962. That was to be de­ferred for two years.

Mem­o­rable day

“Some very vo­cal op­po­si­tion to the idea of a hos­pi­tal here had de­vel­oped in some sec­tions of the county and some elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple were not in too great a rush to vote the grants which were a vi­tal pre­lude to the pur­chase of the land and let­ting of the con­tract for build­ing,” The

News re­ported. “More than sev­eral meet­ings of the mind were re­quired be­fore all the nec- es­sary grants had been voted, all the re­quired ap­provals had been re­ceived from sev­eral de­part­ments of gov­ern­ment and the hos­pi­tal com­mis­sion.

“A spank­ing breeze was blow­ing out of the West on that mem­o­rable day of April 29, 1964, when the first sod was jointly turned by Mayor Ray­mond Péri­ard, of Alexandria, Coun­ties War­den Lloyd McHugh, the reeves of the four ad­join­ing town­ships and Board Chair­man G.G. Aubry. The key man in start­ing the ball rolling, Mayor Ge­orge Si­mon, had died sud­denly two months ear­lier and had been suc­ceeded by Coun­cil­lor Péri­ard.”

The con­tract had been awarded to M. Sul­li­van & Son Lim­ited of Arn­prior.

1,000 peo­ple lined up

At the rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony, MP Vi­a­teur Ethier, MPP Osie Vil­leneuve, did the hon­ours while nurses Ni­cole Trudel and Marvel Robert­son as­sisted. Lloyd McHugh and G.G. Aubry are look­ing on along with other mem­bers of the board.

“It has taken us five years to get it built and opened,” said G.G. Aubry.

“But it is now a re­al­ity and our new hos­pi­tal is quite a sight. It took the co­op­er­a­tion of many peo­ple to make this build­ing pos­si­ble.”

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