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Laurentian Chest Hospital (Photo - Ray & Diana Baillie)An important part of the history of the French village of Ste. Agathe in the treatment there of sufferers of the dread disease tuberculosis. Two English-speakers made an imprint here: Mortimer Davis and D. Lorne McGibbon. Davis was the major contributor to the building of Mount Sinai Hospital (sanatorium), c.1910-11; McGibbon, “the forgotten benefactor”, initiated the Laurentian Chest Hospital, seen here. This impressive three-storey Tudor building was designed by Scopes and Feustman, c.1910.

Lorne McGibbon, a descendant of Scottish farmers in east-end Montreal, became a successful businessman (e.g. Consolidated Rubber). In his late thirties he was diagnosed with TB and was hospitalized at Saranac Lake, N.Y. (Doctors at the time believed that rest in a cool, dry climate above sea level would facilitate a cure.) McGibbon saw the need for a facility in Canada, and soon set plans in motion for the construction of a sanatorium at Ste. Agathe, to which he was the main contributor both in its erection and its operation.With Mount Sinai and the Laurentian Chest Hospital, Ste. Agathe became the Canadian centre for TB care. Soldiers who had been gassed during World War I were treated there. When TB was “conquered” by Streptomycin in 1954, the hospitals went into decline. The Mount Sinai building now sits abandoned, and this fine stone structure is being used by the Centre Hospitalier Laurentien for administrative offices.Lorne McGibbon’s heath failed him in the 1920s and he became insolvent. Legend has it that he decided to give the “largest party ever held in Ste. Agathe”. Everyone was invited to his property “Stonehaven” on Lac des Sables. Only McGibbon knew that the coffers were empty. He died in 1927 at age 57. He should not be forgotten.