This theme illustrates the buildings and associated landscapes of the Riverview Lands that together are a physical record of the history of the treatment and therapy of the mentally ill in British Columbia from the early 20th Century to today.
The dignified early institutional buildings were designed to simply be places of great solace and care. The physical development of the early landscape with its open vistas, lawns and carefully placed trees were integral to this philosophy, with patient labour to create and maintain the beautiful setting in itself viewed as a therapeutic activity.
As therapy evolved into a practice of science-based medical intervention, new facilities were built specifically to accommodate the new scientific treatment practices. Less emphasis was placed on the therapeutic value of inspiring architecture and landscapes.
As the development of therapeutic drugs ushered in the integration of mentally ill patients into the larger community, society was also rejecting the ideal of the grand institution for the mentally ill. The community-based model for the treatment of mental illness has changed the original use of the site as a place for psychiatric therapy, but the landscape endures, now more and more as a restful recreation space for the surrounding community.
If you feel that the therapeutic history of the Riverview Lands is important, please tell us why.
What buildings and landscape features particularly illustrate the history of therapy at Riverview, and why?
Do you have any comments on this theme?