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Nanaimo Hospital

388 Machleary Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/10/07

Exterior view of the Nanaimo Hospital, 1950; Nanaimo Community Archives, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Society Fonds, Appraisal Report
Southeast elevation
Exterior view of the Nanaimo Hospital, 2004; City of Nanaimo, Christine Meutzner, 2004
Southeast elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Nanaimo Hospital is a four storey Classical Period Revival style building located in a predominantly residential area adjacent to the downtown core. The historic place comprises the building and grounds.

Heritage Value

Built between 1925 and 1942, the Nanaimo Hospital is a very good example of the Classical Period Revival style, one of the most widespread styles in North America from the late 1880s to the early 1900s, especially for churches and public buildings. The Nanaimo Hospital's Greek Cross form and minimal ornamentation are typical elements of this style. The building's overall austere and institutional appearance, appropriate for the serious nature of providing medical services, symbolizes tradition and authority. Although there have been some alterations and additions over time, the essential form and character of the building remain intact.

The Nanaimo Hospital building represents the City's complex history of medical services and speaks to the ongoing challenge of providing adequate facilities for an ever-expanding population. The first hospital was opened in 1877 in a row of miners' cabins. In 1881, a large new purpose-built hospital was opened on this site. Continued population growth dictated the construction of this new building in 1925. Construction was delayed by lack of finances and it was not officially opened until three years later. The north wing, although part of the original design, was not completed until 1942 because of funding problems. In 1962, a new hospital was opened at another site. The Nanaimo Hospital Building has since been adapted for other uses.

The Nanaimo Hospital is significant for its association with Alexander Ernest Henderson, best known, in partnership with George W. Grant, for the design of the Vancouver City Hospital (now known as the Heather Pavilion) of Vancouver General Hospital in 1903. Locally, Henderson also designed the Freemason's Ashlar Lodge.

The Nanaimo Hospital building is prominently located at the brow of a long, gentle slope that rises from the waterfront. Its height and mass make the building a highly visible landmark.

Source: City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department, file #6800-20-H01-02/388 Machleary Street

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements of the Nanaimo Hospital include:
-all of the elements of the Classical Period Revival style as expressed in the Greek or Tau form of the building, the symmetrical façade, the overall restrained appearance, the stucco cladding with brick quoining, and the overhanging metal cornice.

-the location of the building at the top of a hill.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1942/01/01 to 1942/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Health and Research
Hospital or Other Health Care Institution


Architect / Designer

Alexander Ernest Henderson



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Nanaimo, Development Services Department, file #6800-20-H01-02/388 Machleary Street

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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