Tell Your Story!

During the course of this project, I’ve had a lot of people tell me snippets of stories about their connections to the Camsell. To help gather up and preserve these stories, I’ve partnered up with David Rauch of In Your Own Words to host a recording session.

Tuesday, May 19th from 5-8pm at the Stanley Milner Library  in Edmonton (Alberta), we’ll be recording any and all memories connected to the Camsell Hospital throughout its long history. Do you remember when it was a Jesuit College or US military base? Were you born there or treated there? Did you work there, or did a relative? Did you perhaps go ghost-hunting there or skateboarding after it was closed (yes, you can stay anonymous!)? What stories do you have that you’d like to share?

At the beginning of the session, you’ll sign in, give your name and any additional contact information if you’d like (this will be used strictly internally and won’t be passed on to other parties), and you’ll sign a form affirming that you allow your story to be stored and made public. Individual sessions and two-person interviews will be encouraged.

These stories will then be preserved through In Your Own Words on the Cloud (basically the Internet’s hard drive) and we’ll look into preserving them through a local archive as well. The stories may then be used in future heritage works around the Camsell Hospital.

Please note, I am also looking into creating safe spaces for indigenous storytelling circles on the Camsell this summer with the assistance of different colleagues and elders. If you would be more comfortable sharing your story in this way, please contact me and I will invite you when the dates are set.

You can reach me with any questions or comments on this at

17 thoughts on “Tell Your Story!

  1. Dorothy Frost May 5, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    My father Benjamin Thomas passed away in that hospital in the 60’s, I was 2 and born in 61. I wasn’t told much only that he died there. I would like to learn more if I can.
    My name is Dorothy Frost (Thomas)
    Thank you


    • historiandmc May 5, 2015 / 10:20 pm

      Dear Dorothy, Thanks so much for your comment. I will keep an eye out for his name as I continue with my research over the next couple of years. Any other information you can email me at For example, where he was from, if you know anything about what he was treated for, how old he was at the time? I met a few Frosts when I was in Old Crow in 2010. Not sure if your family is from there? Look forward to hearing more from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann May 12, 2015 / 11:57 pm

    I was there as a young child (for TB), hundreds of miles away from my parents and family.


  3. Janice MacDonald May 19, 2015 / 7:53 pm

    I cannot come this evening, but my mother and my grandmother were both patients there at various times. Both of them received wonderful care.

    My grandmother’s roommate was from Aklavik and was feeling very homesick. My mother managed to get a call through to her family, and jotted down all the news including the fact that someone had caught a whale, and there was lots of food for everyone. She began to rally after that news and was soon able to be discharged and flown home.

    I fainted in the visitor’s bathroom there once, and came to a few minutes later, realizing getting sick in a hospital wasn’t all that it might be cracked up to be. There I was, all locked in and away from any nurse’s pull cord. Luckily, I managed to come round, get out and get some juice into me and was fine after that.


    • historiandmc May 19, 2015 / 7:56 pm

      Whoa – lots of stories! Might have to schedule a special session just to record these over the summer, Janice. Thanks so much for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenn Griffin June 3, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    My mother, Hilda Hardie, was a volunteer at The Camsell throughout the 60’s. She facilitated sewing sessions with the older girls. She also took kids from the TB ward on outings and brought them to our house (up the street from The Camsell) on more than one occasion. I knew many of their names because they were warehoused on the TB ward for so long. Today I remember only Mary, Annie and Elizabeth. In ’76, I was a patient there myself. My experience as a non-indigenous patient in a racist hospital is expressed in several pieces I’ve written over the years. I am happy to contribute to your site in whatever way I can.


    • historiandmc June 4, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      Thank you so much for your message, Jenn. Your different connection points with the hospital are exactly what I – and I think many in the community – will have to come to terms with through this project. I would absolutely love to find out where I can find your pieces on this and hope we can talk again soon.


  5. Dawn August 27, 2015 / 10:52 pm

    I was in the children’s wing from 1973 on and off till 1985 and again in 1992, wish i had pictures but I remember it very well.


    • historiandmc August 29, 2015 / 7:51 pm

      Hi Dawn, Thanks for writing on here. Perhaps we can chat some more about your experiences in future? Take good care, Danielle


  6. Allan Benjamin October 11, 2015 / 1:19 am

    Hello my name is Allan Benjamin from Old Crow Yukon.I remembered an old lady by the name of Annie Fredson.I think she was Jane Fredson’s mother.Jane is buried in Edmonton and her name is on the cairn.
    Very interesting information.
    The First Nations Heritage department should document the grave because Jane Fredson is from Old Crow.
    Thanks so much for the info.


    • historiandmc October 11, 2015 / 6:58 pm

      Thank you, Allan, for your note. I spent two lovely visits in Old Crow in the winter of 2010 and hope I get to go back someday. I really enjoyed visiting with Stephen Frost Sr. and reading Edith Josie’s columns, Here Are the News. I’ll make sure I get in touch with the Heritage Officer at VGFN to ensure she knows about the connections. Take good care, Danielle


  7. Allan Benjamin October 12, 2015 / 3:40 pm

    I found out Clara Moses,who is also buried there,is from Old Crow too.
    She is the daughter of Johnny Moses.
    Uncle Stephen Frost told me that she was sent to the Carcross Residential school.
    Would you be able to verify that information.
    Johnny Moses is related to our family.
    Thank you!

    Allan Benjamin
    Old Crow,Yukon


    • historiandmc October 12, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Hi Allan, I will be really diving into the research around this in the coming weeks and months and will keep an eye out for anything connected to Clara and the Moses family as well as Annie Fredson. If you have any memories about Annie and why she might have gone down to Edmonton to the Camsell, I’d appreciate hearing about them. We could chat by phone or Skype or whatever’s convenient sometime. I’ve heard there were definitely people shuttled back and forth between residential school and the Camsell as well. I’ll see what I can find out about Clara and Carcross RS but sometimes the records aren’t great, unfortunately. It may take me a bit, but I’ve filed away these names and info and I’ll keep my eyes and ears open!

      Thank you and don’t be a stranger! I keep meaning to check in with VGFN to see if the copies of my book arrived for the heritage library and the school. If you happen by there can you see if Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North is on the shelf? I included some of my interview with your Uncle Stephen in there!



  8. I was there as a small child for TB.spend a lot of time in bed. I remember people coming to look at me and talking about me as if I couldn’t understand English.;) then an ”Eskimo as they called back then just about talked the staff into taking me home with him.LOL.when I left by plane I had a big tag that had my name on it.but I didn’t make it home to my parents I was put into the residential school . Parents told they couldn’t look after me .So not school age yet I stayed there . But when they allocated out TRC compensation .it was not reported the years I was there only the school age ones.fudging records,I was in there couple more times after. Maybe I was about 10 or so ,playing cards with adults. Learning gambling LOL.


    • historiandmc September 27, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your important story on here. I can tell you have a good sense of humour, but geez, quite the experiences you went through, eh?


  9. Dawn Betty Lewis November 16, 2019 / 2:10 am

    I wanted to ask for information about children hosp. Records beginning in aug of 1965 to 1968 . I was a patient there in the above dates . I remember when I was there in the old hosp. It was always bed rest for children . I never made it to the upstairs room where they have the roomful of girls that had about 10 beds or so . I always wanted to move upstairs . But I think it was for girls that were getting better . The girls were allowed to play outside . I looked out from my hosp. Window to see kids play. How I wanted to join them . I don’t remember going outside until we were moved to the new hosp.


    • historiandmc November 26, 2019 / 11:56 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience and reaching out. I can imagine that yearning to play and be outside with the other kids. That must have been tough! In terms of records, please check out the two posts about how to track those down at the Provincial Archives of Alberta and Library and Archives Canada. You can also find some photos and information in the issues of the Camsell Mosaic Newsletter from those dates. There are hard-copy and microfilmed copies at various places in Edmonton and beyond!


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