Remembering Oak Ridge
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Introduction to the Remembering Oak Ridge Digital Archive and Exhibit

Lock and key cut from Oak Ridge gateWhy an exhibit about Oak Ridge?

The purpose of this project is to preserve and share the forensic history of the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care by creating a web-based digital exhibit where artefacts, photographs, and archival documents are used to demonstrate how treatment practices, security restrictions, and individual experiences both changed and remained consistent from the division's opening in 1933 until the closure of the Oak Ridge building in 2014.

By opening the locked doors, so-to-speak, the aim is to dispel the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround forensic mental health care centres and their clients. The project also provided a rare opportunity to preserve the unique history of Ontario's only maximum-secure forensic hospital served by both the mental health and criminal justice systems.

 Please Note:

1. The Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care has two divisions. This exhibit highlights only the forensic division.
2. This exhibit uses historic terminology that may now seem out of place. No offence is intended by its usage.
3. The identifying features of most patients have been concealed to comply with Canadian privacy laws.


The Remembering Oak Ridge digital archive and exhibit has been created and curated by Jennifer L. Bazar as part of a Postdoctoral Fellowship. The project is jointly supported by the Research and Academics division of the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Toronto. It was overseen by Howard Barbaree  (Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care), Alexandra Rutherford (York University), and John Court, (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Archives/University of Toronto).

The project is being completed in two phases:

Phase One involved collecting the artefacts, photographs, and documents that serve as the framework for the digital exhibit. The bulk of the accompanying text was also written during this phase. The material was launched to the public on June 4, 2015.

Phase Two will span to the spring of 2016 and will involve adding more personal experiences to the exhibit from patient case records, interviews, and oral histories with former staff members of the Oak Ridge division. Several additional sections are also planned for the existing exhibits.

Previous History Projects

This exhibit has benefited greatly from the work of earlier history-based projects that were undertaken at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. A short overview of these projects may be viewed by clicking here.


If you have questions about the Remembering Oak Ridge Digital Archive and Exhibit, please send an email to

For current information about the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, please visit:

Do you have a mental health emergency?

If you need emergency help, please call 911 or visit your closest emergency department.

For a mental health or addiction concern, the Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health Crisis and Information Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 705-728-5044 or toll free at 1-888-893-8333