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Did You Know?

Approximately 700 people (including 400 staff) visit the Chilliwack hospital each day.


About the Community Profile of Chilliwack:

Fraser Health Authority.(2010). "Community Profile 2010: Chilliwack". Retrieved from:



Chilliwack Hospital

Hospitals were established in Victoria, New Westminster and Vancouver by 1880. However, smaller rural towns and villages had to wait until the 20th century to receive this amenity.

Up until 1912, people living in Chilliwack requiring hospital care made the lengthy trip by steamboat to the hospital in New Westminster. With a growing population, demands for a hospital in Chilliwack surfaced as early as 1908. The premature death of a local businessman while on route to New Westminster was the catalyst that mobilized the community. In December, 1908, William and Margaret Hodgins donated one-acre of land for a hospital.

Fund raising continued over the next 4 years, intensifying after the formation of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary in 1911. Finally, in 1912, a two-storey building with room for thirteen patients opened, debt free. An expansion in 1914 added additional beds. By 1940, a new building allowed for 50 beds. Further improvements occurred in increments over the next seventy years.

Photograph (top right): Chilliwack Museum and Archives. (1914-1915). Seven member nursing staff at the Chilliwack Hospital. P887

Photograph (left): Chilliwack Museum and Archives. (195-). Chilliwack General Hospital on the corner of Hodgins and Edwards Street. P2549.

Coqualeetza Hospital

The Methodist run Coqualeetza Industrial Institute opened in 1894. Of its features the isolation hospital and the 1915 aboriginal tuberculosis centre are not well known. In 1918 during the global influenza epidemic the institute was temporarily converted into a hospital with 101 patients lining the dormitories, hallways, sitting rooms and the large recreational hall.

Photograph: Chilliwack Museum and Archives. (1968). Picture postcard of Coqualeetza Hospital, Sardis. 1999.029.097.033

In 1924 a larger structure, Coqualeetza Residential School, which was built in 1941 was converted into a Tuberculosis hospital. A new wing was opened in 1955. Prior to the hospital, a Preventorium was opened on the grounds in 1935. Its residents were selected after several physical examinations that determined which aboriginal children were the most susceptible to tuberculosis.

Apart from the treatment of tuberculosis the facility’s staff of doctors and nurses included an eye specialist, dentist, and arthritis specialist. Former patients returned for checkups and some participated in a cancer survey. Local First Nations children convalesced at Coqualeetza after receiving specialized care in Vancouver. Chest surgeries were performed in the facility’s operating room by a specialist who made weekly trips from Vancouver. After affiliating with the Vancouver Vocational Institute, student nurses spent one month training in Coqualeetza’s children’s wards. In 1969 the hospital was closed.

Military Hospital

Camp Chilliwack, a wartime training base, had just begun operations in 1942 when military decision makers felt that a hospital close to Chilliwack’s civilian hospital was needed. By 1944 the new Chilliwack Military Hospital opened on Hodgins Street while sharing the operating room, laboratory and X-ray machine of the General Hospital.

After the war, a rumour spread that the military hospital would close in January 1946. This led the Chilliwack Hospital Board to ask for the first chance to purchase the facility. It was thought that three of the former hospital's wards could become part of an annex to the civilian hospital. Each ward could take 22 beds and the remainder of the building could be converted into a senior's home.

By  May 1, 1946 the hospital was "loaned" to the directors of the Chilliwack Hospital Board. In September, when conversions were completed the new venture took the title of the Chilliwack Nursing and Guest Home for the Aged. However by March 1947 there were not enough aged people living at the facility and so it was closed. The two councils were successful in buying the facility, in September 1947.

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