HomeNews & LifestyleTranquille Canada: A Haunting History of BC’s Abandoned Sanatorium

Tranquille Canada: A Haunting History of BC’s Abandoned Sanatorium

Tranquille Canada

Tranquille canada
Image Credit @Moonmaiden55 on Instagram

Tranquille Canada is one of the spookiest and most unusual stories told about Kamloops and the interior of British Columbia. Similarly, Tranquille Canada also served as a thriving micro centre that employed and staffed hundreds. It also provided goods and services for people all around the province.

On the outskirts of a town called Kamloops, the farm sits on over 600 acres of land. Following a long tradition of creatively utilizing abandoned spaces, it now offers escape rooms and heritage tours.

Let’s explore its history a little bit, shall we?

The History of Tranquille

People from all over the world — especially those of the ghost and horror-story seeking types — have sought out the sanatorium. Creepy tales, horror stories, rumours, and folklore abound about this fascinating spot in Kamloops

There’s not much history available about Tranquille. The reasons for this are likely as mysterious as the place itself.

Before Europeans came to the area, First Nations people used the land for harvesting, fishing, and hunting. In the 1890s, two ranches belonging to established and wealthy families in the area began taking in consumptives as guests. They also allowed those infected with tuberculosis to live in small buildings and little tents on the property. They allowed the patients to care for themselves as long as possible.

Building of Tranquille

The B.C Society for the Prevention and Treatment of Consumption and Other Forms of Tuberculosis held its first meeting in January 1904. It intended to begin the plans and fundraising to build an isolated hospital. After this, they discovered a Kamloops property for sale.

The Society went on to raise $58,000, and purchased 600 acres plus buildings from early settlers. They added other land purchases to these existing ones, and got to planning the project.

The tuberculosis hospital opened its doors on November 28, 1907. It was officially called the Kind Edward Memorial Sanatorium. Quickly, it needed to expand its structures, because the demand for more structures happened fast. Because of this, there was an almost constant state of construction on the land. Eventually, after 1910 and much of the construction, the sanatorium had 360 beds. It also served to employ many nurses and attendants, and helped to contribute to the economy and the local community.

There are many stories of the land told through tours of the tunnels which were built underneath the grounds to transport laundry and other goods. The tunnels are now one of the main drawing features of the sanatorium in Kamloops. The tunnels are scary and dark, and most of the people who visit tend to be looking for a scare in their lives.

Development of the Land

Tranquille canada
Credit: @DevinChesketh on Instagram

Alexandra Ranch in Kamloops was a part of the land, and was used to grow food and also raise animals to be slaughtered for the staff and patients. The establishment also used the animals and farm to sell to the public, and make more money.

The farm on the Kamloops sanatorium grounds grew and started to prosper, and eventually became a source of revenue through meat, dairy, and vegetables. Even after the sanatorium closed, the farm continued to provide food to the local people, and also to generate revenue for the projects.

The patients even started a newspaper, which was called the Tranquilian. The staff tended to live on-site, which made it feel like a bit of a commune. As the relations increased, the people had families, and they built a schoolhouse specifically for the children on the farm.

Leading Edge Care

The hospital focused on self-care, which was a leading advance at the time. They were dedicated to preventing the spread of infection. It was ahead of its time, in that they had a strict  regimen of healthy foods, rest, and fresh air. This helped to contribute to an element of healing in the hospital, which is rare for hospitals these days. Most of them just provide a home for the sick.

Open-air verandas helped to ensure the patients were getting enough fresh air. It was so cold in Kamloops that the nurses even said some mornings their faces and bodies were covered in frost.

Tuberculosis Details

In the early 1900s, tuberculosis was terrible, and had a very high death rate. Approximately one in seven people had died from the disease. However, these statistics really only report the numbers for white people, as there were no records kept for the First Nations people at that time.

Estimates vary, but it appears that 32% of deaths from the disease were in the First Nations population, according to the Canadian Tuberculosis Association. First Nations peoples only made up 3.7% of the provincial population in 1935, so this rate of death is alarming to say the least.

Through the years, the older buildings were torn down and replaced. Construction continued on the land. The sanatorium population continued to grow. Incidentally, many World War One soldiers returned from the war with tuberculosis, so there were many soldiers who stayed here as well.

The Introduction of Anti-Tuberculosis Drugs

Drug companies caught on, and started to create drugs to treat tuberculosis. Because of this, the dynamics and intentions of the hospital changed a great deal.

In 1958, the hospital closed because sanatoriums became unnecessary. Therefore, the province used the property to help and shelter people who suffered with mental illness. If you look into the Kamloops archives, however, it’s challenging to find information on the sanatorium. You cannot even find the official name of the institution.

Victoria — the capital of the province — is where you can find most of the archives.

Among other rumours was the buzz that some of the patients had lost their rights. At the time patients had different rights than they do now. Patients had to have the staff open their mail. They also had to do unpaid work on the farm. This obvious injustice was passed off as being therapeutic for them. Visitors were not allowed to give the patients any supplies, which further enhanced the mystery of the area.

To the sadness of the staff who called it home, an announcement was made that the institution would be obsolete. On July 19, 1983, a large number of union workers protested the closure. They occupied the buildings for three weeks. There were over 300 patients still at the centre. Because of this, the patients were transferred to community care, family homes, or other institutions.

In 1991, the Ministry which owned the land accepted an $8 million offer for the land. It was purchased by an Italian developer who hoped to make it into a site for tourists.

The idea never really worked out.

Tranquille Sanatorium Deaths

Tranquille canada
Image credit: @Jadogterom on Instagram.

Touted by influencers and horror-seekers as “Canada’s Most Haunted Place” there’s not much fact to the rumours.

Tuberculosis claimed many lives at Tranquille in Kamloops. There were deaths of patients that were accounted for. Despite what a lot of the rumours say, the tunnels were supposedly not used for much other than transporting dry goods underneath the property.

There is a cemetery on the property which adds mystery and creepiness to the overall look of the land. It’s actually a family cemetery of one of the families who originally purchased the property.

There are very few consistent stories about the hauntings and the deaths at Tranquille. Stories of dead bodies in the tunnels are mostly squashed by fact. Tales of hauntings in the buildings are also wiped out when you look through the archives.

The Underground Tunnels of Tranquille

The tunnels at Tranquille are some of the most mysterious areas on the property. As we explored earlier, they were built by the staff to transport goods.

Tranquille Tunnel Tours Kamloops

Now, a company called Tranquille Farm Fresh offers tours at the site.

For years now, the abandoned sanatorium has featured as a creepy escape room for Halloween. Sounds of fake screams fill the tunnels. Rumours state that during the tours, the staff tell stories (mostly falsely, mind you) about the people who’ve died there, and the supposed ‘horrors’ which have taken place.

There’s a specific tour called “The Escape From Padova”, and it was in the abandoned tunnels below the sanatorium in Kamloops. It offered one hour of terrifying tours and stories in the dark, and served to give lots of entertainment to the guests who’d travelled from all over to get chills up their spine.

On Saturdays and Sundays, the company gives tours of the grounds. The tunnels are usually only opened for Halloween.

Movies filmed at Tranquille in Kamloops

What a lot of the horror-seekers don’t know is that the land has been used for different things. As a result, over the years, quite a few movies and projects have taken place at Tranquille.

The abandoned site, currently operated by Tranquille Farm Fresh, is used for agriculture. But in the off-season, or even during the times that they are in active creation of agriculture in Kamloops, people film movies there.

”The A-Team”, a movie from 2010, was partly filmed at Tranquille. The land provides an amazing aesthetic, and the old nature of the farm and the buildings is perfect for Hollywood.

There is a corn maze which is great for filming. If you watch the movie “Firewall”, you’ll see bits and pieces of the land featured in the film.

In Conclusion

If you’re seeking some thrills, add Kamloops to your agenda. There are lots of areas to explore. Despite the ‘private property’ signs posted at Tranquille, you can still book tours to see the land.

Make sure to plan ahead! The tours sell out quickly… they’re a big tourist draw for the area.

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