Fort Qu’Appelle Sanatorium
SASKATCHEWAN’S LAST TUBERCULOSIS SANATORIUM SUCCUMBING TO DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT
Sold by the Province in 2005, the once beautiful “Fort San” complex is in desperate straits after a series of private owners dither with redevelopment plans.
Why it Matters:
Picturesquely situated in a coulee on Echo Lake a few kilometres from the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, the Sanatorium (known as “Fort San”) operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium from 1912 to 1971. The 184-acre property contained numerous Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts-style buildings designed by two of Saskatchewan’s most distinguished architects on a beautiful, uplifting campus containing a bandstand and pleasant pathways. At its peak, Fort San was the primary tuberculosis treatment centre in the province accommodating over 350 patients at one time. The property was later adapted for other uses: from 1967-1991 it hosted the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts and from 1992-2004, the provincially operated Echo Valley Conference Centre.
Why It’s Endangered:
In 2005, a reportedly flawed disposal process by Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation saw Fort San turned over to the Town of Fort Qu’Appelle in partnership with Mitchell-Echo developers. The property has since changed hands several times. The Qu’Appelle Valley community has long recognized and supported the heritage value of Fort San.
In 2007, the Village of Fort San designated four sanatorium buildings –the Main Lodge, Dr. Jenner’s Residence, Administration Building, and Nurse’s Residence – and the broad, landscaped front lawn as Municipal Heritage Property. While designation requires that properties be maintained to a level that ensures the possibility of reuse, the Village does not have the budget to hire a bylaw officer to enforce these standards. In the intervening years, the property has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair with buildings boarded up, vandalized, or crumbling from lack of heat and maintenance, and the once lush and immaculate grounds, in shambles.
Where it Stands:
In 2012, many of the remaining buildings were demolished and only the four designated heritage buildings now remain with their condition unknown. The Village of Fort San issued a maintenance order on the property late last year, but this is being appealed by the current owner, ClearView Developments. The Village of Fort San has identified the retention and redevelopment of the historic Fort San property as a key policy objective for 2012-2016.
UPDATE 2015: As of 2015, the Sanatorium remains vacant and in serious risk of demolition by neglect. In the summer of 2013, the Village of Fort San issued a maintenance order to Echo Valley Resorts Limited requiring repairs to the Sanatorium buildings. In violation of the Heritage Property Act, however, the site’s owner as repeatedly refused entry to Village inspection teams. Forced to complete inspections from the public road, the team has observed serious deterioration to the property’s remaining heritage buildings.
Location: Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan
Top 10 Endangered Places List: 2013