Midwestern Regional Centre

Hello again UrbEx peeps,

UrbEx Barrie had the wonderful opportunity to explore the former Midwestern Regional Centre in the middle of cow-country north of Listowell recently. As regular readers and fellow explorers may know, we have a special kink for abandoned institutions. Before we get to the history of this facility, let's have a look at a short video . . .

Midwestern Regional Centre
Built : 1966
Owners :
1966 - 1998 - Ontario Ministry of Health
2006 - 2008 - Village Green Lifestyle Community
2010 - present - Cham Shan Buddhist Temple

1966 - 1998 - Ontario Ministry of Health

Developed by the Ontario Ministry of Public Works, the Property was formerly the Midwestern Regional Children's Centre (opened in 1966), a centre for mentally challenged youth operated by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The Property, approximately 164 acres was developed with a 167,000 square foot main building and several other outer buildings. By the early 1970s the population was mostly comprised of adults. In its hayday, the hospital housed up to 225 patients. Governmental views regarding this containment of the handicapped changed in the '90s and it was decided to eliminate the large institutions in favor of community based care. This led to the Midwestern Regional Centre closing its doors in 1998, after 33 years of operation. Rumours have it that the original plans for the Midwestern Regional Centre at Palmerston were patterned after the Mansfield facility for the mentally handicapped (1860 to 1993) in Connecticut based on plans as it had existed in 1939.

1998 - 2006 - No use.

2006 - 2008 - Village Green Lifestyle Community

Richard Ochnik (and 1464210 Ontario Inc.) purchased the property for use as a retirement community. They had initiated an extensive renovation of the interior and exterior of the structures but had become bankrupt within only several months.

2008 - 2010 - No use.

2010 - present - Cham Shan Buddhist Temple

The Cham Shan Temple, a Buddhist organization from Thornhill, Ontario purchased the property for an estimated $3.1 million with the intention of using it as a Buddhist retreat centre or a seniors retirement home. A number of repairs, which includes fixing a leaky roof were effected shortly after purchase. The construction of new temple in the Peterborough area is a competing interest for the organisation and currently efforts are concentrated in Peterborough as the Palmerston property sits idle.

We love this facility and wish we had the opportunity to explore it before Village Green had started renovations and conversions. We will likely be back before the season is out and before the new Owners make full use of the property.


Matthew T Rader said...

Those are really cool urbex photos man. I've just now started exploring Urbex photography and I really enjoy it. I just put up of my recent Urbex photos, they aren't nearly as good as yours, but I'm learning:


Minda(New York) said...

Just wanted to leave a quick note to say I LOVE your site!!!!Found it via Youtube. And the fact that you add the history is even better...I like to know facts about what I'm looking at...it makes it more interesting. Hope you continue to update your site and will be watching for more adventures!!! Thank You!!!!!

Biddie said...

Awesome photos, honestly. I have some pics of the place but they are 8 years old and taken with a disposable camera.
The place was actually renovated in 2003 - or at least that is when the reno began before the new owner went bankrupt. I know this because it was my husband that did most of the work in the summer of 2003.
That place is just plain wrong. The feeling of heaviness, sadness, despair, are all too apparent. There are many lost souls that still reside there.
I am hoping that becoming a Buddist Temple will give the place a new lease of life.

Btw, the fisrt photo, the exterior photo of the round windows, is the old staff caff.
The photo of the loading dock area gives me the creeps. That was a very active spot.

My husband lived on the grounds for about 3 months.If you ever want to know more, feel free to email me biddie36@hotmail.com

Love, love, love the photos!

Biddie said...


here are my breathtakingly bad photos . there are some intersting anomolies in a couple of them, plus the play yard is uber creepy