Old Groves hospital in Fergus, Ont. could face the wrecking ball

Abraham Grove, c. 1870. Wellington County Museum and Archives

The board of directors of Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus, Ont., just north of Guelph, is considering tearing down the old building that once housed the hospital.

The old hospital closed in August 2020 after a new building opened on Frederick Campbell Street in Fergus, and it has since been used as a COVID-19 assessment centre, OPP training grounds, and even as a setting for movie and television productions.

Hospital chief executive Angela Stanley said the building holds a lot of history but it is becoming too costly to maintain.

“(The building) will require significant investments to bring it up to current standards,” Stanley said.

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“Because we were provided notice from the Ministry (of Health) that they were not going to service the operations of that building beyond March (2023), we do need to make some plans expecting demolition of the building will be the next step.”

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However, a decision still needs to be made on the future of the property, according to Hospital board chair Gilles Madore.

“A committee made up of members from the hospital board of directors, community members and hospital staff are working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health on decision making,” Madore said in a statement.

“GMCH will continue to work with the MoH to explore potential future uses of the land to deliver medical services that will continue to benefit the community and the Groves Hospital corporation.”

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“We would also look to partner, if we could, with another agency, developer, etc. for potentially other uses for the building,” Stanley said.

“They don’t anticipate many will come forward wanting to keep the building. We are anticipating there might be more interest in the land.”

The hospital, first called the Royal Alexandra Hospital, was established by Dr. Abraham Groves in 1902.

He donated it to the Town of Fergus in 1935 and it continued to operate as a hospital until a new hospital was built in 1955.

Stanley said the decision to perhaps tear the old hospital building down was not taken lightly.

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“Dr. Groves’ legacy in the community was profound,” Stanley said.

“It was a very important building in terms of what it provided historically to the community. His legacy will live on in the new building.”


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