Southwestern Regional Centre

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Southwestern Regional Centre
Opened 1961
Closed 2008
Demolished 2013
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Blenheim, ONT
Alternate Names
  • Ontario Hospital School for Retarded Children at Cedar Springs


Since 1961, the Southwestern Regional Centre (“Southwestern”) provided a residential program for developmentally delayed and disabled persons. Southwestern was also commonly known as “Cedar Springs.” This institution was originally designed to accommodate children under 10 years old. As the years passed, focus was altered to accommodate the aging population, as residency in those years was considered somewhat permanent.

In 1966 there was a resident population of 1,200 and a staff of 600. By 1979 the resident population had been reduced to 620 as changes in policy and strategy dictated the reassignment of residents back into the community, a philosophy of Community Living originating in the 1950's. Even before the facility opened, the winds of institutionalization were changing. In 1959, the architectural plans were altered for Southwestern, reducing the project from 2,400 to 1,000 beds.

Southwestern closed in October 2008. The property was purchased in August 2012 by St. Thomas business entrepreneur Bruce E. Dinsmore for $150,000.