150 Years of History in the Hills

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the July 12, 2017 issue. Reprinted with permission.

A summer social in honour of our health

This year, the 65th anniversary hospital Garden Party celebrates rural medicine and volunteerism at a crossroads in the history of the Gatineau Hills, and Canada. The Hospital Ladies Auxiliary organized the very first Hospital Garden Party in July 1952, shortly after the Gatineau Memorial Hospital opened its doors in March of that year.

150 Years of History in the Hills
The Garden Party in 1963. Donated by Norma Geggie.

The new hospital was the cherished dream of Dr. Harold Geggie. Located in the former manor house built by the MacLaren family in the 1860s, it was intended to be a memorial to the district's servicemen who did not come back from the two World Wars, and for the use of rural families in remote areas. The building now houses Le Manoir seniors' residence.

Early on, the Wakefield Women's Institute took on the challenge of raising funds for the hospital. The women sewed, held jam sales and tag days, and home cooking sales, which helped to collect a total of $50,000.

In later years, the Garden Party was held at Peace Park, at the new hospital, and more recently on the grounds of Les Trois Erables, once known as 'The Maples', which served as home, office, dispensary, and examination and operating rooms by the Geggies until the new hospital was built in 1952.

Many things have changed since those early days. The hospital moved to a new location in 1996, was renamed the Wakefield Memorial Hospital, and is now part of the Centre intgr de sant et services sociaux de l'Outaouais.

150 Years of History in the Hills
Penny Harrison dressed as a 'nurse' and surrounded by gifts on opening day of the Gatineau Memorial Hospital in 1952.
150 Years of History in the Hills
Volunteers Mrs. Billy Cross and Mrs. Eddy Cross painting cupboards for the Gatineau Memorial Hospital opening March 1, 1952.

150 Years of History in the Hills
1976 Garden Party attendees. Courtesy of the Low Down.
150 Years of History in the Hills
Tommy and Irma Douglas at the 1976 Gatineau Memorial Hospital Fair hot dog stand. Courtesy of the Low Down.

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