It was my birthday last weekend, and I asked my friends if we could stop by Century Manor in Hamilton, so I could take a few photographs. I suppose it was a bit unusual of a birthday request, because Century Manor used to be Hamilton’s Insane Asylum.
This is me freezing cold at the back of the Manor.
As you can sort of tell, the Century Manor is a beautiful old building, constructed in the Victorian Gothic style, but it’s all boarded up and currently empty. Back in 1874, Toronto had a surplus of alcoholics in their institution, so this plot of land was selected to be the home of the overflow hospital more or less. By 1876, the first “drunks” arrived. Then in 1884, Century Manor was built. This location seemed ideal as a recovery home for those with mental illnesses because it overlooked the city of Hamilton and had such a beautiful view that it would certainly bring peace to those with unsettled minds. If the scenery didn’t help, lobotomies and electro-shock therapies were also available, (as well as an assortment of other unusual treatments). In 1890, this was the home to the “criminally insane”, basically, those deemed the most dangerous. On Sunday afternoons, locals would have picnics on the grounds so that they could watch the “lunatics” getting fresh air. There are still tunnels underground, that connect the Manor to Mohawk College and the other hospital buildings and the site is listed as part of the Haunted Hamilton tour. The building, after much controversy, is suppose to be re-purposed in the near future, but I don’t really have any details on that. In any case, it’s a beautiful building with a fascinating past, and many artefacts remain throughout the city. A few snaps from the site (we didn’t go inside even though a window on the lower floor was broken with steps leading down to the basement).