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Remembering Oak Ridge


Recreation staff demonstrating use of Universal Gym

Recreation staff demonstrating use of gym equipment, ca. 1980s

The Health Care Team at Oak Ridge

Over the years, many individuals have contributed to the operations, treatment, security, and maintenance of the Oak Ridge division. As the years progressed, what began as a relatively small number of staff both grew exponentially and also became increasingly specialized.

In the earliest years of the division, there were simply few employees and few positions. For the original patient population of 100 men, there were 18 Attendants and nine supervisory Attendants who worked alongside a school teacher and an Occupational Therapist. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and psychiatric staff were shared with the regional division of the Hospital.

By the early 1960s, the division was doubled in size - both physically and in terms of its patient population. Attendant numbers were increased to 100 but the professional staff remained shared across the two divisions:

"The Oak Ridge unit shared the Superintendent, Medical Director, Social Services, Business Administration and Maintenance staff with the rest of the Hospital. Two psychaitrists work full-time in Oak RIdge, assisted bya  staff of one hundred attendants" (McKnight, Mohr, & Swadron, 1962, p. 249).

In addition, during this period there were two instructors who operated the industrial therapy workshops and two retired school principals ran the schoolroom. Other specialists - a chaplain, denist, and internist - visited the division regularly.

Diversifying Staff Positions

For the first four to five decades at Oak Ridge, the limited staff meant that Attendants and patients were responsible for cleaning the wards, distributing meals, and other tasks essential to the daily operations of the division. In the later decades of the division's history, these tasks were increasingly taken over by new hires in specified dietary and housekeeping roles. 

"Locating" Oak Ridge Staff

Due to the nature of the types of records remaining in the archives - patient case files, ward reports, treatment program summaries - there is little print content available that relates to non-Attendant staff. We hope to capture some of the memories of these individuals of the Oak Ridge division through oral history interviews that will be added to this exhibit during phase two of the development of Remembering Oak Ridge.  

By Jennifer L. Bazar

Page Last Updated: June 4, 2015


McKnight, C. K., Mohr, J. W., & Swadron, B. B. (1962a). The mentally ill offender in the Oak Ridge hospital unit. Criminal Law Quarterly, 5, 248-258.

Nielsen, R. F. (2006). Total encounters: The life and times of the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene. Penetanguishene, ON: Mental Health Centre Volunteer Association.

To Cite this Page

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