Centennial celebrations conclude at Comox hospital

St. Joseph's General Hospital wrapped up its centennial celebrations with two events over the weekend.

Most Reverend Richard Gagnon

Most Reverend Richard Gagnon

St. Joseph’s General Hospital wrapped up its centennial celebrations with two events over the weekend — both of which were very successful, according to centennial co-ordinator Mary Lee.

“It went extremely well,” Lee said of the Sunday public celebration on the hospital grounds. “The weather was on our side and we had plenty of activities that catered to all ages, so it clearly looked like everybody was enjoying themselves.

“There was hot food on the barbecue and fresh tea and goodies at the auxiliary tea — everyone seemed to be enjoying all the free food — and just a relaxed atmosphere that the whole event offered, which is exactly what our goal was.”

Though Lee noted attendance numbers were hard to guess, the barbecue served just under 500 burgers and smokies, and a variety of guests from the community showed up.

“And what was even more impressive was that everyone in The Views was brought out at some point during the day to take in a little bit,” continued Lee. “So, our residents got to enjoy it, and that is really important because they’re a community of the hospital that is most important to us as well.”

The hospital also held a Gala in the Garden on Friday evening at the Florence Filberg Centre, which featured cocktails, dinner by local catering company Tria, live music by Johnny Inappropriate and dancing.

The July 5 gala marked the day — 100 years later — that four Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto arrived in Comox so they could establish a hospital for the Comox Valley. Now a 234-bed facility, the hospital started as a four-bed hospital in a cottage, which first opened to patients Aug. 10, 1913.

Hospital CEO and president Jane Murphy noted some special guests attended both events.

“For our centennial weekend we were very fortunate to have five Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Bishop of Victoria, attend all the events,” said Murphy. “Their presence was very special and reminded us of the original Sisters who established St. Joseph’s General Hospital in 1913.”

During Sunday’s public celebrations on the hospital grounds, the concept for a new healing garden project near the hospital’s cafeteria was unveiled.

“A lot of people spoke highly of the idea,” Lee said of event attendees. “They thought the concept was very endearing in how it can improve the grounds, but also, cater to the healing — the spiritual healing as well as the physical healing of the body.”

The healing gardens project is one of the hospital beautification projects set to be funded through the hospital’s Legacy Years campaign. Though the centennial celebrations are now over, Lee pointed out people can still contribute to the campaign, and those who do will be recognized on a plaque in the healing gardens. For more information on the campaign, visit www.cvhospitalfoundation.com or call 250-890-3046.

Also on Sunday, the Royal Bank of Canada handed over a cheque for $20,000 to the St. Joseph’s General Hospital Foundation. These funds will pay a large share of a new piece of equipment, called the Arctic Sun Temperature Management System, which costs just over $30,000.

This equipment will be used in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s and it will help patients who have suffered from sudden cardiac arrest and patients at risk for ischemic brain damage via its non-invasive precision temperature management system.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com