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Community joins former residents, advocates to witness final demolition of Woodlands Institution

Today former residents of Woodlands Institution and their supporters gathered to witness and speak to the demolition of the building’s last remaining structure, the Centre Block.

Quick Links


Last Woodlands School building facing demolition (video) - CBC News, Oct 18, 2011

Woodlands demolition, (video) Global TV BC - Oct 18, 2011

Woodlands School survivors watch as building demolished - (video) CTV News, Oct. 18, 2011

Ex-residents cheer as former B.C. residential school is torn down - Globe and Mail, Oct. 18, 2011

Good riddance, say Woodlands survivors, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 18, 2011

Former residents cheer as tainted Woodlands demolished, The Province, Oct. 19, 2011

Woodlands survivor: Thank you, by Carol Picton, The New West Record, Oct. 19, 2011

Woodlands survivors deserve recognition - The New West Record October 18, 2011

NOTE: *If the article you're looking for has been removed, we can send you our archived file. Contact info@inclusionbc.org for the article.




Woodlands Institution Demolition Ceremony to be led by Former Residents, Advocates

New Westminster, B.C., October 18, 2011 - Today former residents of Woodlands Institution and their supporters will gather to witness and speak to the demolition of the building’s last remaining structure, the Centre Block. The structure represents one the last and most imposing physical reminders of the institution, which confined and segregated people with disabilities in BC from 1878 until 1996.

From the time it was built until the time it closed, abuse, neglect and concerns about the treatment of residents were evident. In 2001 the experiences of residents were documented in a report completed by former BC Ombudsman Dulcie McCallum, titled “The Need to Know.” When Woodlands finally closed its doors in 1996, BC became one of the first provinces in Canada to close all of its large institutions, marking a turning point in our history. Since then, people with disabilities have been speaking up for their rights, having their voices heard in communities.

“Today’s demolition symbolizes the closing of one chapter in our history,” says Lorie Sherritt, President of the People First Society of BC. “The next chapter will see former residents everywhere fully supported to live in the community and are apologized to and compensated for the harm done to them.”

"This is a momentous day for all British Columbians who value diverse and welcoming communities," says Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of the BC Association for Community Living. "The Woodlands Centre Block symbolizes a dark part of our history that we must always remember, continue to learn from and never return to."

Today’s demolition ceremony has been organized and led by the People First Society of BC, who have worked closely with the BC Association for Community Living to ensure that the voice of former residents is heard on this day and in the future. Speakers at the ceremony will pay respect to all those who lived and died at Woodlands, recognizing that the struggle for justice and freedom is not over, as institutions continue to confine people across the country and across the world.

As the walls of Woodlands come down, we are reminded that we can never go back to an era of discrimination, segregation and exclusion. Institutions have no place in our communities.


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