Community Support – Furnishing a Nursery

An article in the September 24, 1932 Vancouver Sun talks about the new nursery that was about to open at RCH and how the Girls’ Auxiliary had furnished and decorated it. It describes how “the babies the stork delivers at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster are going to have one of the prettiest and most up-to-date nurseries on the Pacific Coast in which to spend the first few weeks of their lives. These small morsels of humanity have the Girls’ Auxiliary to thank for the remodelling and refurnishing of the nursery, bathing room and hallway of the Babies’ Ward done over at an expenditure of $1200.”

The article continues, “Visitors to the hospital next Friday will enter the ward from the main corridor through doors that have been hung with crash drapes, appliquéd with nursery figures. In the nursery itself, with accommodation for 24 small folk, are a dozen basket-type cots, supplemented by another 12 bassinettes, now being purchased with several already donated. The colour scheme is naturally in Babyhood’s own special colours of pink and blue, showing to advantage against the soft neutral tone of buff walls around which strut white ducks and bunnies on a wooden carved frieze of blue background, the central figure being a life-sized stork. White curtains, dotted in blue, frame windows through which sunshine pours. Through a glass partition is visible the bathing room, equipped with mono-metal tables – bathing and dressing tables that keep an even temperature at all times. Several spacious cupboards hold all sorts of necessities. Two new case-rooms and a semi-operating room have been furnished also by the Auxiliary.”


Other projects of the Girls’ Auxiliary that year included sewing 4 dozen crib covers for the new nursery and conducting a book drive that resulted in over 500 books being collected, repaired and made available to patients. The group also had a new social service department that incorporated a “driving committee” who was now ready “to take patients riding”. This was a service for inpatients – not to take them to appointments as you might expect, but just to go for a ride to get a change of scenery and enjoy being out of the hospital. Remember this was 1932 and going for a ride in a car was something new for many people.

These are just a few of the ways in which individuals gave their time and abilities to help the Royal Columbian Hospital in 1932. We’ll have other stories in coming weeks of the countless ways over the last 150 years in which individuals, corporations and groups have supported the hospital. If you would like to donate to the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation and the next 150 years of medical excellence and compassionate patient care, visit http://www.rchcares.com or call 604 520 4438.

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6 Comments on “Community Support – Furnishing a Nursery”


  1. We have come a long way in 80 years. No more Girls’ Auxiliary. Men have been welcomed in the Auxiliary for some time and the “Girls” word has been dropped in favour of what they always were “women”.

    • rch150 Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Louise. What’s interesting is that, for a time, there was both a “Ladies Auxiliary” and a “Girls Auxiliary”. The “girls” were daughters of the “ladies”, often still in school and then moved into the “Ladies Auxiliary” when they were a little older. Different times! Whatever its name, the Auxiliary has done an immense amount of work and given a huge amount of support to RCH and we’re very grateful to them.

  2. Kenneth James Garrett Says:

    When I was born at RCH in 1964, I got my picture in the local paper, as my great great grandmother was still alive, so all five generations got their pictures in the paper. Of course, being 1964, two week old me was the only one to get my full name printed, as I was the only male. The rest were named as Mrs. (husbands first and last name). My grandmother, and mother were also born there, and then in 2004 when my fiance was seriously injured, she spent time there in ICU and neurology. That was my first time back there since I was born.
    Thank you, RCH, you have been an important part of my life.

    • rch150 Says:

      What a great story – thanks for sharing it with us. Do you still have the picture from the paper? Wouldn’t it be neat to have a similar one with your mother & grandmother if you have a child at RCH, and keep the tradition going.

      • Ken Garrett Says:

        I do still have a copy of the picture. Unfortunately my mother passed away 18 years ago, and my grandmother passed in 2007. I tried to copy and paste a jpeg of the newspaper picture into this reply but wasn’t able to. If you let me know how to get a copy of it to you I will gladly send it. I am glad you enjoyed my post.

      • rch150 Says:

        You can email it as an attachment to rch150@senseofhistory.com and we’ll post it to the blog with your story, if that’s OK with you. A number of families have multi-generational connections to the Royal Columbian, but not very many have photos like this – that’s pretty special.

        Thanks again for letting us know about it.


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