Nurse Halladay and Boissevain’s First Hospital

There is a stately brick home on a quiet street in Boissevain that is known locally as the Nurse Halladay House. It has a well tended lawn, elaborate entrances, ornate windows, and a dated stone reading “Jubilee 1897” commemorating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was built by Joseph Graves and later sold to pioneer Benjamin Halladay.

Benjamin’s daughter, Lily Gertrude Halladay was born in 1890, in a log house on the family homestead a few kilometres north of Boissevain.

After received her early education at Royal and Dunallen Schools, she took Registered Nurses' training at St. Boniface Hospital. Immediately after graduating she served overseas in World War I. Then she nursed in several hospitals before deciding to return to Boissevain to “work from home” so to speak. Her career is spread across the pages of “Ours is a Goodly Heritage”, the Boissevain – Morton history.

Some Nurse Halladay Memories:

Muriel Edith Wright was born in March 1928 at Nurse Halladay's Nursing Home.

Dr. McDiarmid came from Brandon to perform the operation in a room at the Hotel and was assisted by Nurse Halladay.

…(on) July 18, 1944, their second daughter Ina Marlene was born at Nurse Halliday's nursing home in Boissevain.

Marlene Gladstone was born at Nurse Halliday's nursing home in Boissevain on July 18,1944. Mildred Catherine, was born September 22, 1936, at Nurse Halladay's in Boissevain.

We named her (our daughter) Elva Louise and she lived for only four days. The day she was buried I came down with polio. Fortunately I had not left Nurse Halliday's nursing home and the doctors caught it in time and gave me serum.

The repair work in the church (St. Matthew’s Anglican) was costly but was met through a capital fund which was established through the sale of property left to the church some years ago by Nurse Halladay …

Nursing homes filled a pressing medical need that was eventually filled by the establishment of a Municipal Hospital.

The Boissevain, Morton, Minto Memorial Hospital opened in 1948. It was the Boissevain and District tribute to those who had fallen in the two World Wars. It was equipped with thirteen beds and two cribs, and all the latest in medical equipment.

When the time came to open the doors on this new and much appreciated service, Nurse Halladay was appointed Matron, a position she held until her retirement in 1960. She spent her retirement years in Boissevain and passed away in 1969.

The first hospital building has an interesting history. It was built as the Airport Hospital for No. 17 Service Flying Training School based at RCAF Station Souris. After being declared surplus after the war it was dismantled and moved to Boissevain. In 1977 when the new hospital replaced it, it was moved to a spot near the Home Hotel on Main Street where, with some renovations, it has served as a Community Centre and Seniors’ Activity Club.


Boissevain History Book Committee. Beckoning Hills Revisited. “Ours is a Goodly Heritage” Morton – Boissevain 1881 – 1981. Altona. Friesen Printing, 1981