The future redevelopment of Kingston General Hospital has at least one person concerned — not for the health care, but for the history.
Parts of KGH were built on top of a mass grave, where at least 1,400 of the nearly 100,000 Irish who fled the Great Famine are buried. As we get closer to St. Patrick’s Day, we try to find some answers about the hospital expansion, and plans to commemorate the site’s Irish history.
Tony O’Loughlin is the president of the Kingston Irish Folk Club, he says our history is important.
“If we don’t know where we came from, we have no idea where we’re going,” O’Loughlin said. “That’s an old cliche for history, but it is very important.”
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O’Loughlin is also the driving force behind the city’s numerous Celtic crosses honoring Irish history. Krista Wells Pearce is the vice-president of Planning for the Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
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“Because we know the history of the property and the land we will be doing an archaeological assessment, we have to do a variety of assessments to do anything on the property for city approval”.
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Pearce says the hospital redevelopment is still years away, and in fact the planning stage alone will take a couple of years. She says you won’t see any construction or modification of the site for at least that amount of time.
As for O’Loughlin, he’d like to see Celtic crosses at the KGH site with, plenty of history to explain the former burial site as well as the early days of the hospital.