The Opening of the New Hospital (A Recount of the Opening)
SKIDEGATE INLET GENERAL HOSPITAL
The United Church of Canada
Queen Charlotte City, B.C.
The Opening of the New United Church Hospital
On the Queen Charlotte Islands
On Tuesday, November 15th, 1955 the Queen Charlotte Islands General Hospital was opened in the service of the United Church of Canada. The opening was attended by people representing all the Island’s communities and representatives of industries and organizations from all over British Columbia who had been interested in and contributed to the construction costs. The opening day was a stormy one, but in spite of this a large crowd attended coming by boat, plane, and car to Queen Charlotte City.
The opening ceremony and dedication service took place in the main hall of the hospital. The programme opened with the singing of O’ Canada following which the chairman of the Board of Directors, Rev. L.C. Hooper, made the opening remarks and introduced the following speakers.
Mr. N.A. English, President of Kelley Logging Co. who brought greetings as representing the Logging Company’s on the Island--Kelley Logging Co. (Powell River), Alaska Pine Co, and Crown Zellerbach. Mr. English expressed the satisfaction of the Logging companies with the location and construction of the new building.
Mr. W. Matthews spoke on behalf of the Haida natives of Masset. The Chairman read a letter of congratulation from Commissioner Arniel of the Indian Department following which Mr. Solomon Wilson spoke for the people of Skidegate Inlet.
Then Mr. Harding, the Government agent from Prince Rupert read greetings from British Columbia Hospital Insurance Service, and it was noted that none of the B.C.H.I.S. officials were able to attend the opening due to the pressure of their duties in Victoria.
Dr. W. Donald Watt, Medical Superintendent, thanked the people for their co-operation with the hospital staff.
Bruce Brown, M.L.A. brought greetings from Paul Martin, the Minister of Health and Welfare at Ottawa, and greetings from Ted Applewhaite, the Federal member who was unable to be present, and greetings on behalf of his own constituency.
Mr. Buster Bellis brought greetings from the Fisherman’s Co-operative of Prince Rupert and unofficially from the Prince Rupert General Hospital Board and the city of Prince Rupert.
Mrs. Grant of the Prince Rupert Soroptomist Club brought greetings from the B.C. Tuberculosis Society.
Dr. Fraser of Indian Health Services brought greetings from his Department. Then Mr. B. Phillips, who had acted in the capacity of Clerk of Works for the construction of the new hospital, declared the building of sound construction.
The Chairman then read several telegrams from Well wishers. Following this the Chairman turned the meeting over to Rev. R.G. Connal, Chairman of Prince Rupert Presbytery and Rev. L.G. Sieber, Home Missions Convenor for the Presbytery, who gave the address. Rev. Sieber commenting on the beauty of the new building remarked on the necessity of sacrifice and discipline before such a project could be satisfactorily completed.
Following his address the ceremony of the handing over of the key and the official dedication was completed as follows.
The contractor, Mr. Perry Ford of Ward and Son, New Westminister, spoke briefly and handed the key to Mr. Donald Wagg of Whittaker and Wagg, the Architects, Victoria. Mr. Wagg in turn expressed his satisfaction on seeing their plans materialize in the present building and handed the key over to Dr. Bunt who accepted it on behalf of the Church, and declared the building officially opened.
Dr. Bunt then read greetings and congratulations from Dr. M.C. Macdonald, Secretary of Home Missions for the United Church of Canada.
Dr. Bunt then moved into the lobby of the hospital where he read the words of Dedication culminating in the unveiling of the bronze plaque by two oldtimers who had worked as nurses in the old hospital many years--Mrs. A. Duval and Mrs. G. Pitt-Turner. The ceremony terminated with the Doxology, Benediction, and God Save the Queen.
Immediately following the ceremony the Womens Association of the district served refreshments on the ground floor. All available nurses present and past acted as guides in showing the visitors through the new building. The following day each of the classes of the local schools were conducted through the building as an educational project.
The construction of this 21 bed hospital brings to an end many years of effort on behalf of the Island Communities to replace the old 11 bed hospital which has done yeoman service since 1909.
The name of the new hospital is the Queen Charlotte Islands General Hospital replacing the name Skidegate Inlet General Hospital.
The hospital staff with the generous help of the community moved patients and equipment into the new building the day after the opening.