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Remembering Oak Ridge

Closing Oak Ridge

Staff during patient move

Staff in hallways of Oak Ridge during patient move, 2014

Moving Day

The population of Oak Ridge moved on May 5, 2014. The men were brought down the hill to the new building in yellow school buses, escorted by staff. In the span of only a few hours, every patient was relocated to their new rooms in the Atrium Building.  

Although the actual move between buildings was conducted within a single day, preparation for the event spanned months. In the weeks leading up to the move, mock transfers were staged in an effort to prepare both staff and patients for the actual event. An in-house bulletin, Ready, Set, Go, was also produced to help keep everyone informed of the process. 

Staff and Family Tours

Possession of the Oak Ridge building was transferred to the Ellis Don company for demolition only days after the patients were moved to the Atrium building. Within this short time, tours were arranged for current and former staff members to view the building one last time and to bring their famlies. The occasion was one of the few opportunities in 81 years that staff members could show their place of work to their families.

A ceremony concluded the event with the front gates of Oak Ridge being locked for the "final" time. 

Demolition of Oak Ridge

Demolition of the Oak Ridge building began in the early weeks of May 2014 and was completed by the end of that summer. The components of the building were removed and recycled. The only physical trace of the Oak Ridge building that remains on the site are the stone entrance gates that were originally constructed by a patient in the 1930s.

Preserving the History of Oak Ridge

Members of the community of Penetanguishene initially sought an historical designation from the province in order to preserve the Oak Ridge building. After deliberations, an agreement was made between Penetanguishene and the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care to have the front entryway of Oak Ridge preserved and placed somewhere within the community. Each party was to contribute half the funds necessary; unfortunately the plan did not come to fruition.

In the months leading up to the closing of the Oak Ridge building, two historical projects were carried out by staff of the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. The first, led by the Communications Department, involved the creation of a documentary about Oak Ridge. Staff and patients were interviewed, and the routine of the division leading up to the move to the Atrium building was filmed. The second project, led by the Research & Academics division, resulted in the Remembering Oak Ridge Digital Archive and Exhibit. In the days between the patient move, artefacts were collected from throughout the building and photographs were taken of the interior spaces of the building.

By Jennifer L. Bazar

Page Last Updated: June 4, 2015


Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (2011). Annual report, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, 2010-2011. Retrieved from

Ontario Hospital Association. (2012). Remuneration of psychiatrists in divested provincial psychiatric hospitals. Retrieved from

To Cite this Page

Bazar, J. L. (2015). Closing Oak Ridge. In J. L. Bazar (Ed.), Remembering Oak Ridge Digital Archive and Exhibit. Retrieved from

Closing Oak Ridge