Guest post by Paul Jenkins, Volunteer Coordinator, Victoria History Project
 
Last month, the coastal town of Bamfield, B.C. celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of its outpost hospital, a Red Cross facility that was established on September 7, 1939, just at the beginning of the Second World War. The Red Cross had opened 90 of these remote facilities across Canada to meet the needs of remote and emerging communities. 
 
The nurses who ran these tiny hospitals were wonderfully resourceful people who played a key role in the lives of their patients, often rising to challenges which required them to make do with what they had. The Bamfield anniversary echoed this theme with many residents talking about the contribution of the Red Cross nurses and how, in some cases, they had saved their lives. 

The 1939 Outpost Hospital today


Organized by the Bamfield Historical Society, the event was held at the site of the former hospital which is now privately owned. We enjoyed tea in the yard, which replicated the annual strawberry teas that were held to raise money for the work of the Red Cross.
 
The outpost hospital was transferred to Island Health in 2005. The Red Cross nurse at the time, Donna Dunn, continues to operate the Bamfield Health Centre.

Left to right: Cheryl McKay and Bev McInerney, former Red Cross nurses; Donna Dunn, former Red Cross nurse and current nurse in charge of the Bamfield Health Centre.

 
You can find more interesting history on the Bamfield Outpost Hospital on Island Health’s website.
 
How remote is Bamfield? Find out where it is