Waiting at the Perley Gates? Perley Home for Incurables

Waiting at the Perley Gates? Perley Home for Incurables


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  27 Jan 1898, Thu,  Page 7


The Ottawa Jewish Archives —The original Perley Home for Incurables on Wellington Street.The attached photo shows a group of top benefactors of the Perley Home and it was taken in their original location on Wellington Street before the expropriation of the house and land in 1912. A.J. and Lillian Freiman can be seen in the image – Lillian is the woman in the dark dress standing in the middle of the staircase by the sign, while A.J. is the younger gentleman with a white pocket square standing behind the row of seated ladies. The sign reads: GIVE HERE! Your contribution to help us raise a MAINTENANCE FUND for the PERLEY HOME FOR INCURABLES.

 - MRS. FLORA AONEW, First Lady. Patient at the...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  06 Feb 1904, Sat,  Page 11

Great Britain and North America saw a wave of new facilities for incurable patients from the middle of the nineteenth century on. The majority of nineteenth and twentieth-century homes for incurables were not primarily a refuge for terminal patients. The goal was to alleviate the suffering of the incurable sick people that were not helped by the poor sick relief efforts. But, they were not primarily a home for incurable diseases, but rather a reception house to help those with palsies, arthritis, rheumatism– and it was obvious there were no clear cut distinctions. But, they were also a forerunner to hospices of today.

In those days any family  which had a troublesome member, either old or young, attempted to pass it on to the Home for Incurables, until these institutions possessed an unhappy conglomeration of idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, insane, senile, and mentally normal people suffering from incurable diseases.

In October of 1906 it was reported that the patient’s ages residing at the Perley Home for Incurables were anywhere from 30 to 94. There were 27 names on the list with a total of 7,010 days spent in the home by the patients, with an average of 333.81 for each. The treasure’s balance showed  receipts of $5,871.23 and $6,370.46 leaving a debt balance of $499.23.

 - 1rsaasswsssa.ss. li i m ; i .. i ' ' " v- v-...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  06 Feb 1904, Sat,  Page 11

In 1928 the Perley Home salaries were under great criticism, but so were the other hospitals, especially the Civic Hospital. May 30th, 1956, a legal ad was placed in the Ottawa Journal to lose the Incurables word and to be known only as the Perley Home.

I noted a comment from Reid Barry on the Lost Ottawa Facebook page and agreed with him: I remember back in the early 70’s when students called it the Perley Gates. I guess we all get there some time”. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Folk it was not.

 - t 1 iff i'Jrv ri Lit MRS. MoLEOD, Who Has Been...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  06 Feb 1904, Sat,  Page 11


The Perley Home for Incurables – 1897 to Present–The Ottawa Jewish Archives

In the 1870’s, lumber baron William G. Perley had a beautiful stone mansion built at 415 Wellington Street for him and his family in what was then known as the Uppertown area of Ottawa. He chose this location so he could look out over the river and closely monitor his various saw mills.

Perley passed away in 1890 and seven years later, his descendents gifted the home he had built to the City to become a residence for “incurables” – those people suffering from seemingly incurable diseases. The home was given “free and without any restrictions on the title.”

By the end of their first year in 1898, the Perley Home had 16 patients residing there – both men and women – and there was a maintenance cost of 7 cents per patient per day to look after their well being.
 - i ; HELP FOR INCURABLES Generous Contributions...
In 1912, the Canadian Government filed a notice that the land the Perley home was occupying was being expropriated. The mansion was unfortunately torn down and the land used for temporary structures during WWII. Today, the Library and Archives building stands there.

 - -r-Churchill ( Perley Home Patients In Sun Room...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  16 Apr 1932, Sat,  Page 5

In 1914 the Perley Home moved to a larger building on Aylmer Avenue where it overlooked the Rideau Canal, and it continued to grow in size and scale.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the word “Incurable” was finally dropped from the home’s name and it simply became the Perley Hospital. Up until around that same time, patients were also still referred to as “inmates.”

In 1988, plans were made with Veteran Affairs Canada for the Perley Home to combine with the Rideau Veterans Home (built by the federal government as a temporary residence for the rehabilitation of soldiers returning from WWII), and the Veterans Wing of the National Defence Medical Centre, into a new 450-bed facility.

The first residents were relocated to the new combined facility in 1995 and it still stands there today as the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Centre.

The Perley Home had been an uppertown mansion built in the 1870s, and converted into an incurables’ home in the 1890s as a gift from the Perleys.Perley Residence, 415 Wellington Street, today the site of the National Library and Archives.
courtesy National Library and Archives Canada MIKAN 3325724

Though the original home was described within their own literature as a “happy Christian home,” from its very beginning the Perley was always a nonsectarian institution and admitted those from all religions. But, from the 1898 newspaper articles below it looks like skin colour might have been an issue.

 - JOSEPH PORTER'S CASE Dc, EebUlard lays he...

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Mar 1898, Tue,  Page 3

The home did have many Jewish benefactors who freely donated both time and money to such a worthy cause. Among those were A.J. Freiman (of Freiman’s Department Store once on Rideau) and his wife Lillian Freiman, an incredibly dedicated philanthropist.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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