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Remembering Onoway's Doctors


St.
                      Barnabas Mission HospitalIn the early 1900s there were three hospitals located in Alberta, Onoway's hospital being one of them. The St. Barnabas Mission Hospital was built and operated mainly by funds raised in England through the Archbishop's Western Canada Fund. It was staffed mostly by nurses (Anglican sisters) with an occasional visit of a doctor from Edmonton. (Miss Storrar, Sister in Charge, noted that she had a doctor out four times in 1916.) Patients were charged $1 per day, with maternity-related services charged out at 50 a day. Many people who reside in Onoway and district are proud of the fact that they were born in the Onoway Hospital.

In 1919 the M.D. of Woodford took over the hospital and St. Barnabas Mission Hospital became the Onoway Municipal Hospital #7 and in 1920 Dr. Little moved to Onoway (he died in November 1921.) Over the years, Doctors Wolochow, McClennan, Hicks and Goldberg worked at the Onoway Hospital. The story is told that Dr. Goldberg and his wife lived in a two-story building in the 1930s where the old community hall once stood and would care for patients in the upstairs bedrooms.

Very little "hard" data is available so a good deal of information comes from word-of-mouth or letters from nursing staff, e.g. Dr. Standish arrived in 1913 but once WWI began, there were no more doctors. And Dr. Wm Honey moved to Onoway and lived in the hospital.

Due to a shortage of staff, the prohibitive cost of operating the facility and the coming of better roads and faster transportation, the Onoway Hospital closed its doors in 1937 after 24 years of services. Locals had to travel to St. Albert or Edmonton (often by bus) for medical services. Woodford Municipality hired a district nurse for $100 per month; she was kept on until 1944.


Dr. O'CarrollIn 1980 Onoway signed up for a provincial recruitment campaign to entice doctors to come to rural areas in Alberta. Success! Dr. Louis O'Carroll from Ireland provided services for three years, in partnership with Dr. Cussen for a while, and was replaced by Dr. Andrew Ness, a New Zealander. Numerous other doctors provided medical service to Onoway area residents over the years that followed. They practised out of the Onoway Medical Centre located in newly built buildings housing a pharmacy.

The list of doctors who provided service in Onoway is long, many of them part-time working in Stony Plain, Spruce Grove or Edmonton. Today three doctors practise at the Onoway Medical Centre: Dr. Richard Kozakiewicz, Dr. Azeez Salami and Dr. Keli Burdek. Dr. Richard has served this area for 10 years and is retiring at the end of June after 57 years as medical practitioner. We thank Dr. Richard for his devoted service he will truly be missed.

 


We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the doctors and nurses who have served this area. Visit the Onoway Museum to see more of Onoway's medical history.


Photos:

1) The St. Barnabas Mission Hospital operated from 1913 to 1937 just north of Onoway. It was an amazingly up-to-date facility considering that it was built in homesteading days when oxen were used to clear the land.

2) Dr. O'Carroll's ad in the Onoway Tribune November 17, 1981 was greeted with joy. Notice that he even gave his home phone number! (His house was provided rent-free by Onoway/Lac Ste. Anne.) Tragically, Dr. O'Carroll was killed in a car accident in Ireland a few years ago.


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Last updated: July 14, 2021