History of Developmental Services

In the early years, residents of the institutions (or facilities, as they came to be called) lived and slept in large wards. Records from the 1920s show some wards having as many as 50 residents sleeping in beds arranged side by side in long rows. Washrooms were also communal.

There were separate quarters for male and female residents. Except for schooling or outings, male and female residents rarely mixed.

Living arrangements started to change in the 1970s and 1980s when the government passed the Developmental Services Act in 1974. This was followed in 1987 by the government's 25-year plan to close its facilities and move residents to residential placements in the community.

To help residents prepare for their eventual move to new homes in the community, the facilities made changes. Large units in the facilities were divided into apartments or smaller dormitory-style units to accommodate smaller groups of people. For example, 12 people might share a unit; four people might share a bedroom. These units had their own common areas, washrooms and eating areas.

Sometimes, stand-alone buildings on site were renovated into "transition" group homes where a small group of residents would live.


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