In 2012 the expansive Riverview Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, was closed with an uncertain future. At time of closure, some of the historic buildings were already derelict and deemed unsafe. To date, the fascinating location has been used by an impressive number of films and TV shows, including Watchmen, X-Files and Battlestar Galactica.
Riverview Insane Asylum originally opened in 1913 as The Hospital for the Mind. The first buildings accommodated around 350 male patients who could enjoy the fresh air of the enormous grounds and gain access to the asylum via its very own train station. By the 1950s, the asylum had over 4.5 thousand patients as new buildings and facilities were added, such as a reformatory school for boys, wards for women and a self-admittance clinic.
As more local psychiatric care units were opened in the 1960s, patients were slowly moved to other hospitals or placed back in to communities. Over this time, Riverview, which had its own bowling alley, bakery and cinema, began to downsize. In 1983 the asylum’s large farm closed and, in 1995, a lot of the former farmland became a regional park. The protection of the asylum’s buildings, land and trees is currently of interest to Heritage Canada, while there are also proposals for several housing development projects.
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