Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium

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Fort Qu'Appelle Sanatorium
Established 1911
Construction Began 1913
Opened 1917
Closed 1971
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Fort Qu’Appelle, SK
Alternate Names
  • Fort San


Picturesquely situated in a coulee on Echo Lake a few kilometres from the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, the Sanatorium (known as “Fort San”) operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium from 1917 to 1971. The 184-acre property contained numerous Tudor Revival and Arts and Crafts-style buildings designed by two of Saskatchewan’s most distinguished architects on a beautiful, uplifting campus containing a bandstand and pleasant pathways. At its peak, Fort San was the primary tuberculosis treatment centre in the province accommodating over 350 patients at one time. The Children’s Pavilion was constructed in 1919. It was torn down in 1944 and replaced with a new Children’s Pavilion in 1945. This pavilion better accommodated the patients. The facility had a school on the grounds for the patients from 1921 to 1967. A Nurses Residence was built on the grounds of The San in 1922. The facility had expanded to accommodate 300 patients, and almost 2,000 people had been admitted to the facility since its opening a mere 5 years previous. A Post Office was constructed at the facility in 1926 to manage the large volumes of mail. At its peak, Fort San could accommodate 358 patients and a vibrant community emerged through activities such as the drama club, jazz band, and internal radio programs. The numbers of TB patients were dropping greatly. With the end to the battle against TB in sight, a small Medical Research Lab was constructed in 1952. The lab remained open until 1967.

By 1960, only 126 of the 300 beds were being utilized at the facility. The Prince Albert Sanatorium closed in 1961, sending the patients to Fort San. In 1967, with a small portion of the facility in use for patients, an unused portion of The San housed the Qu’Appelle School of the Arts. As Tuberculosis had been beaten, the need for a Sanatorium ceased. The Fort Qu’Appelle Sanitarium closed its doors April 1, 1971, and the facility was handed over to the Department of Public Works. In the 80’s, the facility housed a summer school for the arts and the occasional convention. Fort San was beginning to fall in disrepair and remained a financial burden. The Government began looking for a solution. The name of the facility was changed to the Echo Valley Conference Centre and in 1992 an agreement was made with Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation (SPMC) and the Department of National Defense (DND) to utilize the facility. SPMC closed the facility September 30, 2004. It is to be leveled to make way for new condos.

In 2007, the Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation sold Fort San to Echo Valley Resorts Ltd. The Qu’Appelle Valley community has long recognized and supported the heritage value of Fort San. That same year, the Resort Village of Fort San designated four sanatorium buildings – the Main Lodge, Dr. Jenner’s Residence, Administration Building, and Nurse’s Residence – and the broad, landscaped front lawn as Municipal Heritage Property. The undesignated buildings on the property have since been demolished. In the intervening years, there have been concerns from the surrounding community about the slow pace and transparency of redevelopment efforts on the property, as well as concerns that the site has not been properly secured and suffered from vandalism and lack of maintenance.

As of 2015, the Sanatorium remains vacant and in serious risk of demolition by neglect. In the summer of 2013, the Village of Fort San issued a maintenance order to Echo Valley Resorts Limited requiring repairs to the Sanatorium buildings. In violation of the Heritage Property Act, however, the site’s owner as repeatedly refused entry to Village inspection teams. Forced to complete inspections from the public road, the team has observed serious deterioration to the property’s remaining heritage buildings.