VCH seeks input on hospital name change

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
March 14, 2014 01:00 AM

The name of St. Mary's Hospital could change, but not without public input, which is being sought on March 31.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is looking for community input about changing the name of St. Mary's Hospital.

There will be an open house on Monday, March 31, in the new lobby of the hospital between 4 and 8 p.m. where residents are encouraged to share their opinions about a potential name change.

Residents can also send their comments to

"Last fall's opening of the newly-expanded and renovated St. Mary's Hospital marks an important milestone in the hospital's 73-year history," said David Ostrow, VCH president and CEO. "We see this revitalization as an opportunity to consider the possibility of a new identity for St. Mary's that reflects the makeup of the Sunshine Coast and those served by the facility."

Previously Sechelt Indian Band (SIB) Chief Garry Feschuk said the Band was in negotiations with VCH to change the name to shíshálh hospital in recognition of the SIB's donation of the land that it sits on.

However, VCH public affairs officer Viola Kaminski would not confirm the name is being looked at this week, saying instead that, "we are considering all suggestions brought forth."

"VCH is in discussion with various groups and levels of government about a potential name change. No firm decision has been made -we're simply exploring the possibility and gaining feedback from the community," she said.

Feschuk said at a showing of the residential school film We Were Children last month that the name St. Mary's was tied to a residential school many Band members attended, which also signalled its need to change.

In response VCH noted this week that the name was chosen "in recognition of a donation for a furnace by St. Mary's Church in Vancouver."

Regardless, Feschuk said, the name is also the name of a residential school that operated in Mission "and a number of our community members attended this school."

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