This next location had many accounts of unexplained activity before it was demolished in 2017. Although we unfortunately missed the opportunity to photograph this location while it was still standing, we still wanted to try and walk around the grounds to get a general feel for what it would have been like to stay there. We took many wrong turns while trying to search for the site, but trusty old Google maps kept telling us the location was in the middle of nowhere. We ended up venturing down some back roads. The trees looked extra creepy given it was late in the fall at the time, so I was able to get some nice pictures of the landscape.
When we finally found the parking lot that would lead up to the site of the sanatorium, we were met with fences and no trespassing signs. This was unfortunately the end of our tour of the location, but we made sure to do a walk around the outside of the fences to snap some pictures from a distance. The area around the sanatorium, known as Fort San, is a beautiful location on the shore of Echo Lake. It was supposedly built in that location due to the sunny shoreline and protection from the prairie winds.
The Fort San Sanatorium was the first sanatorium built in Saskatchewan. It opened as the tuberculosis sanatorium in 1917 and operated until 1971. The sanatorium was located on a 184-acre lot and had 4 main buildings that were recognized as heritage buildings – the main lodge and its west wing, Dr. Jenner’s Residence, the Administration building, and the nurse’s residence. Given the large building could hold close to 360 patients at one time, it also was the main treatment centre for soldiers suffering from tuberculosis that travelled back to Saskatchewan following the First World War. Since 1971, it had been adapted for two other purposes: first as the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts (until 1991) and then as the Echo Valley Conference Centre (until 2004). The buildings slowly degraded after being closed and boarded up, leading to the demolition of the final building, the sanatorium itself, in 2017. (Sources: Canada’s Historic Places and National Trust for Canada).
Interestingly, I remember my father talking about this location when I was a child. He had to visit it while it was still the conference centre for an event that his workplace was putting on at the time. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he enjoyed being able to walk around the grounds to see the old buildings before they were all demolished. It was the first time I had heard of ticks, which is likely why I remember it so well. I am still horrified by those little insects even though I now have to search for them every summer.
For our little trip, it was nice to get out for a drive in the nice weather before the snow hit southern Saskatchewan. Although we couldn’t go directly on the property, it was still a little eerie looking through the trees at the old lamp posts that still line the drive leading up to the bowl of grass that sat in front of the sanatorium. It is a beautiful location to visit with Echo Lake just across the street and a provincial park nearby. We were able to let the kids run around in the park as we watched the geese in the lake, so it was a successful afternoon even though we couldn’t get close.
I am looking forward to sharing with you the next location I visited. I was actually able to get up to the building (although I still didn’t venture inside). Until next time, my ghouls…
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These haunted photo articles are a hobby of mine, but they cost both money and time to do since I physically visit the sites. I am hoping to buy more equipment and start interviewing people with ghostly experiences, so any donations are extremely appreciated! Love you my ghouls!
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