Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital

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The Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital and the main parking area under stormy skies
OSMH - A pre-construction view of the hospital.
Located in the block surrounded by Mississaga Street, Colborne Street, Volunteer Drive (formerly where Dunedin Street ran) and Dunlop Street, the 230 bed hospital has been serving this area for over 100 years, It's official opening (with 25 beds) was in 1908 (website link).

Here, OSMH is seen from it's "front" view on Dunlop Street - this is a pre-construction view of the hospital and it's main parking area. The main doors of the hospital are located in the lower central section accessible from this parking area. At the time this was taken, the emergency entrance would have been and the end of right hand wing of the hospital. The edge of the house visible in this view is part of the Diabetes Clinic.

Orillia - Hospital at Night - a view of the hospital at the beginning of construction with the crane in the background
Night view of OSMH while undergoing construction of the Community Tower
A view of Soldier's Memorial Hospital showing it's main entrance at night. Beyond you can see the lighted crane - a common sight for a few years while the hospital's new section was under construction. Where the crane is standing in this view is approximately where the new "Community Tower" stands now. Here, you can see the well-lit front entrance area. The driveway up to the main entrance is curved, with a walkway on the right hand side, and stairs up the center area. In the middle of the central stairs is a flat mesa with benches, and then you'll see the Veteran's Memorial. This is where the Remembrance Day services now take place, and where the cadets have stood watch through the night. Behind the memorial are a few more stairs before you reach the sliding glass entrance doors to the main lobby of the hospital.

Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital during the construction of the new Community Tower section
OSM Construction
The Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital during the time it's new Community Tower and Emergency department were under construction.

This newer part of the hospital "fronts" on Colborne Street and now (after completion) is the entrance to the emergency department, while the main entrance doors of the hospital are still in their original location. "Behind" the Community Tower and running along either side of Volunteer drive are parking areas and clinics.

The hospital itself has surgical services, day surgery services, internal medicine, rehab and physiotherapy centers, geriatric services, a maternity & gynecology department, a pediatrics department, several diagnostic and testing areas ... basically, it has almost everything that any large city hospital might have.

It also has one of the best NICUs (neo-natal care units) in all of Ontario, and gets transfers from hospitals throughout Ontario. Most recently, Orillia Soldier's Memorial has opened a brand new cancer clinic. For years they had a cancer area, but it was small and not very pleasant. A few years ago, it was decided to close this and transfer patient treatment to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, but the entire community was up in arms over this decision.

It made it much for difficult for patients to get to and from their treatments (it is quite difficult to be able to drive the 20 or more minutes back home after a treatment), and put help in short supply. If you had to rely on a program like the volunteer driver's, it was hard to get help.

Orillia - Volunteer Drive is part of the new sections of OSMH, with an entrance to the ambulance bay, and the rear parking areas
Construction of the Community Tower at OSMH
Even more difficult if you were in a wheelchair ... many of the drivers are seniors, and unless you can fold up your wheelchair and put it in the trunk yourself, they wouldn't take you. Having a family member who went through this period of travel to and from Barrie (in a wheelchair - if you can't walk at all, you sure can't fold up a wheelchair and stick it in the trunk). We couldn't get help to get him there (I don't drive, and he simply couldn't since he had no control of his legs) - the volunteers wouldn't take him because of his physical condition and OWLS (Orillia Wheelchair Lift Service) doesn't operate outside of the city. An ambulance transfer (or patient transfer service) wanted hundreds of dollars for each trip. A taxi would take him, but at that cost, living on sick benefits, it wasn't affordable. We just didn't have it.

In the end, we were very blessed to have a friend from church volunteer to take him to these weekly visits, but his treatment has gone on for 2 years. We did find help (in the form of my cousin, and our son-in-law) for those times when our church friend couldn't do it, but not everyone would be as lucky as we were.

Thankfully, with the new center finally open (too late for us), it will ease the burden for many people who need this service. Orillia doesn't just get local patients, so there are some north of us who would have had to travel even further to get to Barrie. When the new opening was announced, the community heaved a collective sigh of relief.

Orillia Soldier's Memorial  Hospital Construction
Glass panels being installed at the front of the Tower at OSMH

still in the construction stages, the Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital already has some glass panels in place, here they are reflecting the sunrise
Sunrise hits the new glass panels at OSMH
Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital showing the completed Community Tower and the outdoor 3rd floor patio
Completion of the Community Tower , which includes a sunroom section (visible) and an outdoor patio (on the other side of the tower) - Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital (c. 2010)
The hospital expansion is completed here, and the curved front of the Community Tower is the new location of the hospital's emergency entrance (located at the corner of Colborne and Memorial Streets) and new emergency department. Under the glass canopy are doors for walk-ins, and to the left of them is the ambulance bay, which leads directly into the hospital.

the Eleanor Johnston Wing at the Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital once housed nurses
The Eleanor Johnston Wing - at one time used as a Nurse's Residence. This part of the Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital fronts on Mississaga Street West, and joins the central section of the hospital with the old emergency department.
main entrance off Dunlop Street of the Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital
The main entrance into Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital, off of Dunlop Street.
The new entrance to the emergency department at Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital; this is accessed from Colborne Street now, while the old entrance was on the opposite side of the hospital on Mississaga Street
The new entrance to the Emergency Department - off Colborne Street
the new ambulance bay at OSMH accessible from Colbore and Volunteer Drive
The ambulance bay next to the emergency entrance on Colborne Street
an overview of the new emergency wing at the base of the Community Tower section at Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital
The Emergency Wing of Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital at the corner of Colborne Street and Memorial Ave.

A closer view of the outdoor patio on the long term care floor of the new Community Tower at Orillia Soldier's Memorial Hospital
A closer view of the outdoor patio at Soldier's Memorial Hospital. This is accessible from the long term care floor.

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