Orillia Asylum

Local businessman Henry Fraser began the construction of a large stone and brick building at this site for use as a hotel in 1858. Only partially complete, the province including many municipal councils in the area acquired the property and building in 1860 and began preparing the site to accommodate mentally handicapped patients from other over-crowded facilities including the nearby Convalescent Lunatic Asylum located in Orillia's Couchiching Beach Park.

Huronia Regional Centre opened in 1876. It was originally called the Orillia Asylum for Idiots but was renamed the Ontario Hospital School for obvious reasons. In 1974, it was renamed the Huronia Regional Centre.

Initial construction included a female residence (opened in November 1887), a male residence (opened in February 1888), a central building serving as a water tower, boiler house and kitchen and, about a quarter mile distant, a small plant to create coal gas for lighting located near the railway tracks. The present Administration Building, added to the front of the existing complex, was opened in April 1891.

There are approximately 1.5 kilometers of tunnels which link most of the structures on the property - some tunnels have been sealed.

Video time - grab your respirator and bag 'o' popKorn.

The peak population at one time was approximately 2,800 in 1960.
Beginning in 1987, the Province of Ontario began closing all such facilities and began integration of those with developmental disability into the general community.

The facility closed in March, 2009.

Many buildings now on the formers grounds have found new life such as the Ontario Provincial Police Academy, the family Courthouse and offices for other crown agencies.