Home for Incurables Portage

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Home for Incurables Portage
Opened 1890
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) Charles Henry Wheeler
Location Portage la Prairie, MB
Alternate Names
  • Home for Incurables (1890-1924)
  • Home for the Aged and Infirm (1924-1930)
  • Manitoba School for Defectives(1930-1967)
  • Manitoba School for Retardates (1967-1984)
  • Manitoba Developmental Centre (1984-Present)


Also known as the Home for the Incurables, and the Manitoba Development Centre. In 1890, this institution was opened as Home for the Incurables in Portage la Prairie. The institution was home to a variety of patients suffering from various mental illnesses. In 1932, it became the Manitoba School for Defectives under the superintendent H.S. Atkinson. Atkinson was an ardent supporter of eugenics and was one of the key figures pushing for eugenic legislation in Manitoba.

The patients in the institution experienced terrible living conditions as the institution was overcrowded. This made it difficult for many patients to receive appropriate treatment. In 1973 some of the patients were released, some remained in the institution, while others were moved to the sanatorium at Ninette.

In 1984, the institution changed its name to Manitoba Development Centre. In recent years, the Manitoba government has received much criticism from the disability community for their ongoing support of the MB Developmental Centre. The NDP government, under Greg Selinger, has made it clear that they have no intention of closing the centre. Groups such as People First Manitoba have been very active in pressuring the government to follow the example of other provinces in Canada and close the institution. As of 2014, Manitoba and Nova Scotia remain the only provinces with large institutions for those with developmental disabilities. The Centre provides care, supervision and developmental programs for over 400 residents and is committed to enhancing the quality of life for the Manitobans who reside there.