Lazaretto of Tracadie
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


A few facts and dates

1828 - The first known victim of leprosy dies in his home in Tracadie (Ursule Landry).
1844 - Establishment of the lazaretto on Sheldrake Island (near Chatham).
1849 - The lazaretto is transferred to Tracadie.
1853 - The lazaretto is rebuilt (60' x 25') after the fire of 1852.
1867 - Construction of an annex (40' x 25') serving as a residence for the nuns that were to take care of the lepers.
1868 - September 29th, the arrival of the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph in Tracadie.
1880 - The lazaretto falls under federal jurisdiction and the nuns are wholly responsible for its administration.
1896 - Opening of a new stone building that comprises the lazaretto, the coventry and the annex that would later become a hospital that would serve the region.
1943 - Fire destroys the lazaretto and the hospital.
1946 - Opening of a new hospital and lazaretto.
1964 - Departure of the last quarantined patient from the lazaretto.
1965 - Closing of the lazaretto after 121 years of service.


Repairs to the lazaretto
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Major repairs

With the new administration in place, majors repairs were warranted for both the lazaretto and the coventry in 1880.
But as the years pass: "...the wood buildings deteriorate and the rooms are far from adequate to house both the gravely sick and those at the beginning stages of leprosy. There is no choice, the space must be made larger, or, even better, made bigger and more solid...".
Fire destroyed all the old buildings a month after the new stone lazaretto come into function. No one was saddened by the destruction of these old buildings.


Lazaretto and cloister
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Stone lazaretto

The Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph were given full responsibility to manage the lazaretto by the Federal Government in the 1880's. This government mobilized funds to build a stone lazaretto in 1893. When the lepers entered it in 1896, they thought they were in heaven because of the size of the large leisure halls and the illuminated rooms which were a stark constrast with the primitive lazaretto.

We read in the Chronicles of the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph that: "This building honours the government that built it. Made of stone, its appearance imposing with its mass, it is well known to Tracadie and its regions. It is composed of a front with two wings. Its site is superb: balconies in the back with a view onto Tracadie Bay and further out onto the immense Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

The lazaretto welcomed not only locals, but also the sick from other Canadian provinces and immigrants.

The 4th floor of the left wing took in orphans and educated them.


Hospital Hôtel-Dieu and the orphanage
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


General hospital

The nuns organized a small dispensary adjoined to the lazaretto as soon as they arrived. Many sick arrived thereby demonstrating the great need for a general hospital. A hospital was annexed to the lazaretto thanks to the tenacious efforts of sister Saint Jean de Goto. Six patients were admitted November 1st, 1898.

The number of sick was ever-increasing. Doctor A. C. Smith provided free care as would his successor, Doctor Langis.

The hospital's fourth floor would be used as an orphanage until the opening of the Holy Family Academy in 1912.


View of the hospîtal and of the cloister
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Renovated hospital

1920 would mark the arrival of the hospital's first resident physician.
Doctor J. E. Paulin would be in charge of the hospital. Important renovations took place. The nuns would seek training to obtain the necessary diplomas. Some of them became registered nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and laboratory or radiology technicians.

The first medical office is composed of 4 members in 1925. The Hôtel- Dieu received its certification letter from the American College of Surgery attesting that it had met the necessary conditions to be admitted in the class of model hospitals in 1930.


Hospital and lazaretto
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Fire at the hospital

In the afternoon on January 6th, 1943, a fire destroyed the entire building: hospital, lazaretto and cloister. The sick were housed in certain quarters in the Holy Family Academy; whereas, the lepers were nursed in Dr. Ryan's house.


Hôtel-Dieu Saint Joseph
Tracadie, New Brunswick, Canada


Rebuilding of Hôtel-Dieu Saint Joseph

Couragious, the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph began the construction of a new building.

The project to reconstruct the hospital (burned on January 6th, 1943) begins as early as May, 1943. Sister Alice Allain, called St. Georges, was responsible for the project.