Ninette Sanatorium was opened in 1909 near Ninette, Manitoba. It was operated by the Sanatorium Board of Manitoba from 1909 until the 1960s. At the time there was no cure for Tuberculosis so patients were isolated from the public at Sanatoriums with the prescription of rest, fresh air, and sunlight. Sanatoriums were self-sufficient institutions with power plants, steam tunnels, housing for nurses/doctors, administration buildings, infirmary, and pavilions for patients. The facility became the largest in Manitoba and was home to over a dozen buildings. The facility closed in 1972 as sanatoriums were no longer required due to advancements in medicine. The property shifted to a retirement home in its final years as most patients remaining were older. The property was sold in 1973 and was home to the Pelican Lake Training Center until 2000. The center provided a home and training to intellectually disabled people, mainly residing in the overcrowded Manitoba Development Center in Portage la Prairie. Only some of the buildings were used by the center so others were left to decay and were torn down. After the center closed it was used as a Christian camp for a while. The remaining buildings were sold, the power plant is owned by a private company while the other buildings are privately owned. Most buildings are in a state of disrepair and decay, some in a state of half renovation and long abandoned and the administration is in the best condition. The administration building has power but no heat so it is falling into disrepair. The roof needs repair, the ceilings are coming down and it needs money for repairs. Unfortunately, funds are hard to come by and we can only hope that they will be saved.
This may be one of the best times when connections came in handy. We knew about Ninette and we had driven by the location previously. What we didn’t realize at the time is that the owner knew Alicia’s relatives. With this in mind, a connection was made and before you know it we had permission to see the building. We planned a trip for a weekend but unfortunately, the owner wasn’t able to make it out but was able to set it up for us to still see the place. We were able to visit all the buildings, including the administration building which still had power, and a small museum of antiques from the Sanatorium.