Wilberforce Red Cross outpost celebrates 100-year anniversary

By: Jamie Hofing, Manager, Media Relations, Canadian Red Cross

On August 15th, 2022, the community of Haliburton County in Ontario celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Wilberforce Red Cross Outpost Historic House.

A two-storey white building with a sign saying Ontario's First Red Cross Outpost Hospital 1922-1963
The outpost was the first of its kind in the Ontario Division of the Canadian Red Cross.

At the time, the Children’s Aid Society inspector, Alfred Schofield, observed the severe lack of availability of health care in remote communities and contacted the Canadian Red Cross, who agreed to provide medical services. In February 1922, through the support of the Canadian Red Cross, a one-room building was staffed by a live-in nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help people with injuries, acute illnesses, maternity care and child deliveries.
“It was an honour to be a part of this celebration that acknowledges the historic impact of the nurses who lived and worked here,” says Liane Fernandes, Vice President Ontario Operations, who delivered remarks at the event. “It was a fabulous evening to share the contributions of the Canadian Red Cross personnel who delivered health care in remote areas of the country.”
The outpost played a key role in establishing health care in isolated communities and served as a model for health programs internationally. In 2003, the building was officially declared a National Historic Site of Canada by the Government of Canada.
Community members of all ages and Canadian Red Cross volunteers and staff enjoyed the evening with a corn roast, barbeque, and a cake decorated with the Red Cross. Along with tours of the museum, the event also featured a few of the Canadian Red Cross disaster response vehicles including a 50-person temporary shelter trailer.
“It’s amazing to see how far the Canadian Red Cross has come. From serving communities with a single nurse in a mini-hospital outpost to the hundreds of volunteers and staff who now deliver critical materials, services, and programs to people impacted by disasters,” said Fernandes.
Further information about this historic building can be found at www.redcrossoutpost.org.

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