History | Mr. Innes' Splendid Christmas Gift

Christmas Eve, 1923

To His Worship Mayor Ballie,
      Gentlemen of the Council and
      Citizens of Simcoe and Norfolk County

Dear Sirs,

If you will allow me, I will consider it a privilege was well as an honor to donate the five acre field in the Town of Simcoe at the head of Robinson street, and north of West street, as a site for a hospital.

I have been saving this site for such a purpose for many years and will have the deed prepared upon hearing from you that it is agreeable and also to whom you wish the deed made out.

If this appeals to you, might I be permitted to suggest the advisability of your taking steps to bring into existence a strong and representative organization of citizens whose special would be to work towards the objective of establishing and maintaining a suitable hospital in the county town of Norfolk.

As to the need of such an institution it is scarcely necessary to speak. It being pretty generally conceded that we need a hospital and about the only real reason why we have not got it is from a sheer lack of the necessary funds to erect and properly endow such an undertaking. 

However, with a good strong hospital board in existence to consolidate and encourage efforts along the right line no doubt  we would soon find ourselves much nearer the desired goal than otherwise.

As far as this offer of a site is concerned, there are no strings on it other that that I should like to have the privilege of use the property as at present in the meantime until such time as it would be actually required for a hospital building purposes, and also to remove any barns, fences, feeds, etc. not useful for the purpose.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

                                                                   Yours truly,
                                                                            W. L. Innes
This article, transcribed from the 17 Jan 2023 Simcoe Reformer, page 1, began with the following editorial comment: "The following letter is addressed not only to the town council but to the citizens of the town and county and will be read with interest by everyone. The site donated is the most suitable possible for a hospital. Electric light, water mains and sidewalks run to the property, and sewers are but 150 feet away. And a hospital there, looking down Robinson street, will have a beautiful setting."
[Transcriber Comments: Norfolk General Hospital was subsequently built on this site. It opened in 1925, has been expanded several times since, and is Norfolk County's primary health care centre to this day.
W. L. Innes inherited the donated land from his father,
W. P. Innes, who purchased it from John Jackson.
Strathlynn (where this letter was written) was the W. P. Innes / W. L. Innes family home at the top (west end) of Union Street in Simcoe. The house still stands.

W. L. Innes

Copyright 2002 John Cardiff