The Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph’s Health Centre, a Hospital that has been Closed Down

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Largest Mural in Canada
Largest Mural in Canada

The abandoned St. Joseph’s Health Centre is on Paris Street in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It used to be a hospital, and its history goes back to the middle of the 20th century. The building has been closed since the city’s three hospitals merged into one. Plans to redevelop the building have been put on hold because of rumors of ghostly activity.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre was built.

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In 1944, a group of doctors, Monsignor J.C. Humphrey of Christ the King Church, and Bishop R.H. Dignan of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie to help build a hospital in the Sudbury area. The Sisters bought seven acres along Paris Street and put their own homes up as collateral to pay for the building of the facility.

Since the government couldn’t help pay for the building, the cheapest building model was used. The building was then called “Sudbury General Hospital of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” It was built with a steel beam grid system and a brick facade. Even for the time, this was a pretty simple design.

Continued expansion

In October 1950, St. Joseph’s Health Centre became the first hospital in Northern Ontario where people could speak English. The next month, the first patients were taken in.

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre

Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

During its time in business, the hospital grew many times to include more treatment wings and even a center for taking care of children. As part of other projects, a medical library and a department of nuclear medicine were built, as well as an intensive care unit, facilities for neurosurgery, a poison regulate and volunteer service center, and a department of pastoral care.

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In 1969, a regional ambulance service was set up, which led to the building of a garage at the hospital. One of the new wings also has new delivery rooms, an eye, ear, nose, and throat unit, X-ray and laboratory facilities, operating rooms, and a place for major emergencies.

When a CAT scanner was added in 1980 and a helipad was built six years later, St. Joseph’s Health Centre became the regional referral center for surgical services and emergency care for up to 375 patients.

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St. Joseph’s Health Centre went downhill and had to close.

In 1973, when people started dying in the A-wing of the hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre started to go downhill. Even though the cause of the deaths was never found for sure, it’s very likely that nitrous oxide and oxygen pipes were mixed up. Then, 16 years later, a fire in one of the storage rooms, which may have been set on purpose, caused a lot of smoke damage.

st josephs health centre 5 58977 640x427 1
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In 1997, it was decided that Sudbury’s three hospitals should all be in the same place. This meant that St. Joseph’s Health Centre would have to close. The Sisters of St. Joseph looked into turning the building into a long-term care center to save it from being torn down, but the needed repairs were thought to be too expensive.

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In 2010, the hospital closed its doors for good, and Panoramic Properties bought the building with plans to turn it into apartments. This was put on hold, though, when Mark Leslie’s book Spooky Sudbury: True Tales of the Creepy and Unknown came out and said that the place was haunted. This made many people afraid to move into the old hospital, where they could have lived.

Home to Canada’s largest mural

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In 2019, Panoramic Properties hired RISK, whose real name is Kelly Graval, to paint the front of the building. The provincial government gave a grant to help pay for part of the project. It would be finished as part of the annual Up Here Festival, a local art and music event.

Largest Mural in Canada is in St. Joseph's Health Centre
Photo Credit: Sean Marshall / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Since then, the 80,000-foot mural has been called the largest in Canada. It has a lot of different colors and covers most of the outside of St. Joseph’s Health Centre. The only places that won’t be painted are the back of the hospital and the helipad, which are hard to get to because of the rough terrain.

Read another from us: Abandoned Ghost Town in the Sky

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