As we embark upon the construction of a new medical facility it seems appropriate to reflect back upon the history of the existing Clinic which has served Tobermory and area so well for almost forty years.
In 1974 the community was very fortunate to have Dr. George Harpur offer his services to the area. He commenced his practice out of his home. Later that year a non profit charitable organization was established for the purpose of constructing a medical clinic.
The Township of St. Edmunds donated the land and also agreed to accept ownership of the Clinic once constructed. Some government grant funding was obtained and the community raised the remainder of the funds required. Many hours of volunteer labour went into constructing the Clinic.
The building was completed during 1975 with the Hyperbaric Chamber arriving late in the year. An official opening was held on May 22, 1976. The municipality assumed ownership of the building and it was operated and maintained by a Committee of Council.
In 1980 a proposal was developed to amalgamate the hospitals in Lion’s Head and Wiarton and the Clinic in Tobermory. The Clinic was considered to be a hospital due to the fact that the medical staff provided emergency services to the community.
Early in 1981 the then Chair of the Township’s Clinic Committee, Norm Stevens, was authorized to sign an agreement of intent to transfer ownership of the Clinic to Bruce Peninsula Health Services.
In 1982 the Tobermory Health Clinic Auxiliary was established with Peter Dean as the first president of that organization.
Along the way hospital services across all of Grey and Bruce Counties amalgamated and Grey Bruce Health Services assumed ownership and maintenance of the Tobermory Clinic.
Upon the recent elimination of emergency services at the Clinic (our information is that under the Family Health Team model the physicians cannot provide emergency services in that setting), Grey Bruce Health Services no longer had any involvement with the facility and ownership transferred to the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula in 2010.
The Municipality currently owns and maintains the existing Medical facility (formerly the Clinic) including the Hyperbaric Chamber and the doctors’ residence and the Municipality will also own and maintain the new medical facility once it is constructed.
Tobermory’s Medical History in Print
A full account of the Tobermory’s medical history has been published in a recent reprint of the book “Hewers of the Forests, Fishers of the Lake, The History of Tobermory & St. Edmunds Township 1870-1984” by the Tobermory Press. A copy of the book can be purchased at the Tobermory Press which is located at 39 Legion Street; (519-596-2658].
Tobermory Press has provided a copy of this chapter (see link below) for distribution on this website.
Tobermory’s Medical History [PDF Version]