“Architects, preservation professionals, and municipal-planning departments must think about hospitals as historic places, whether they want to or not.”

Cameron Logan, Urban and architectural historian.

Author of, Architecture and the Modern Hospital (2019)

Need for a hospital

  • In 1887 Mayor J.C. MacGregor urged the establishment of a hospital in Stratford. Citing the increasing number of industrial accidents. 

The response

  • A determined group of women responded by creatiing the City of Stratford General Hospital Trust. Within a month over $7,000 had been raised. 
  • Avon Crest opened debt-free in 1891. Stratford citizens contributed 75% of construction costs and city council granted five acres of land upon which the building stands.

The architect

George F. Durand (1850-1889), designed three other buildings in Stratford:

  • the old Pumphouse (1883, now Gallery Stratford);
  • the Perth County Court House (1886);
  • the Jail (1886). 

Stratford General Hospital was Durand’s final building. He died before it opened.

Stratford General Hospital Postcard 1910
photo courtesy Stratford-Perth Archives

The building

Designed in the High Victorian Queen Anne Style, the yellow-brick, symmetrical building originally featured a central tower and projecting bay windows. With its tower, turrets and chimneys it presented a picturesque appearance on John Street, and an imposing sight when viewed from the T. J. Dolan parkland below.

The hospital grew:

  1. gardener’s cottage (1904); 
  2. three-storey, north wing (1910); 
  3. nurses’ residence (1929). 
Stratford General Hospital – Side View
photo courtesy Stratford-Perth Archives

The context

Avon Crest was constructed as part of a larger push across the country in the 19th century to build lay general hospitals in Canada’s growing cities. 

When it opened in May 1891, Avon Crest was a symbol of progress in science and technology that represented Stratfordites’ belief in the welfare of all its citizens. 

Hospitals are architectural landmarks, important and sometimes beautiful buildings.Today Avon Crest is a repository of personal memory and collective social meaning, a place intimately associated with birth, illness and death within our community. 

Avon Crest belongs to you. It is a part of your heritage.

Interior Hospital – date unknown
photo courtesy Stratford-Perth Archives

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑