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Mission Memorial Centre

33070 5th Avenue, Mission, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/12/21

33070 5th Avenue, Mission, BC, Mission Memorial Centre; District of Mission, 2010
front view from street, 2009
33070 5th Avenue, Mission, BC, Mission Memorial Centre; District of Mission, 2010
oblique view, 2009
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Other Name(s)

Mission Memorial Centre
Memorial Hospital
Mission Memorial Hospital
Old Hospital

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2013/03/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Mission Memorial Centre, also known as the Old Hospital, is a one-storey building located on the corner of Fifth Street and James Street in Mission, British Columbia. It is easily identified by its symmetrical brick façade, hip roof and formal driveway entry.

Heritage Value

The Mission Memorial Centre is valued for its cultural and historic significance.

This historic place, formerly called the Mission Memorial Hospital, is most valued for its original purpose. It was built as a memorial to commemorate and honour the war dead, first of World War I and then of World War II. Rather than build a cenotaph, the people of Mission wanted to create a useful structure that would help the living while honouring the dead. As noted in the Fraser Valley Record newspaper in 1947, 'In this Mission was unique, for most communities lacked the vision to erect a useful, contributing edifice to its WWI dead.' It is significant that a scroll containing the names of the Council, Commissioners, School Board and war dead from World War I was placed in a lead receptacle inside the foundation corner stone during the opening ceremony in 1925, where it presumably remains to this day.

Constructed in 1924, the Mission Memorial Hospital was the first purpose-built hospital in Mission. The community of Mission continues to be proud of the significant contributions made by local citizens through fundraising and special events that allowed the hospital to open debt-free and to add important machinery and space over the next forty years of its operation.

The building continued to operate as a hospital until 1965, when the new Mission Hospital opened in another part of town. The old hospital building was purchased by the local government in 1966, but sat empty until 1973 when the Mission Memorial Centre Society (MMCS) was created and took over operation of the building. This building is significant because it was here that the Society became the first in the province to collect a number of different social service agencies under one roof.

This building is also valued for its association with May Day celebrations. Originally called 'Empire Day,' the first May Day celebration was organized by the Mission Memorial Hospital Auxiliary to raise funds for the hospital. This group of dedicated volunteers ran the annual May Day celebrations from 1920 to 1942, when it was handed over to the Elks and Royal Purple who ran it until 1982. Of interest is the 1924 raffle of a brand new Ford car, which was possibly the earliest example of a fundraising strategy that continues to be popular today. This and other fundraising events represent the strong community support that the hospital has had over the years.

The Mission Memorial Centre is also valued for its age, architectural design, and association with a number of important architects. The original configuration of the hospital was designed by the Vancouver architectural firm of Benzie & Bow (James Anderson Benzie and William Bow). Known later for their residential and institutional design work, they were Scotsmen who had only entered into partnership in 1923; in the same year they presented sketches for the hospital, making this one of their first projects. Additions were made to the hospital in 1938 and 1948. The 1948 addition was designed by Vancouver architect J. H. Harvey as a memorial to those who died in World War II. The new wing matched the original by using the same double course of buff coloured bricks made by the Clayburn Company in Abbotsford.

An important aspect of the hospital is its location north of and up the hill from First Avenue, overlooking downtown Mission, the Fraser River and the Fraser Valley. According to the local press at the time of the hospital opening, there could not be a better or healthier location for a hospital.

The hospital is also valued for its association with important Mission residents and organizations, such as first Hospital Board president Mrs. J.B. Lambarde, first May Queen Mary Alice Wilson, matron Grace M. McCallum, first MMCS president Catherine Marcellus, the Gallipoli Chapter of Daughters of the Empire, the Mission Memorial Centre Society and the Mission Study Group.

Source: District of Mission Archives and Library

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Mission Memorial Centre include its:

-form, massing and scale of the building as evidenced in its footprint, its multi-planed facades, one storey height, multi-hipped roof, formal front entrance
-architectural elements such as the double course of primarily buff coloured Clayburn brick, bay window, plain pediment and brackets over the main entrance, the two corner stones (one dated 1924 and one dated 1948), the plain 1/1 windows
-location of the building on a corner lot, with view from the lot towards the town and Fraser Valley
-scroll, listing the war dead, that was placed in the corner stone



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1948/01/01 to 1948/01/01
1938/01/01 to 1938/01/01
1973/01/01 to 1973/01/01
1965/01/01 to 1965/01/01
1925/01/01 to 1925/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Health and Research
Hospital or Other Health Care Institution


Architect / Designer

J.H. Harvey



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Source: District of Mission Archives and Library

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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