Sports and recreation as medicinal: Saskatchewan Hospital, Weyburn in the 1950s

Lucas Richert, Blaine Wickham

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


On 25 August 1955, staff and patients from the Saskatchewan Hospital, Weyburn, gathered at Coulter Field, near the hospital, and participated in running races, tug-of-war, high jump, and baseball. Competitions were divided into closed events, for patients, and open events for both staff and patients. Afterward, prizes were presented to the winners by the hospital superintendent, Dr Humphry Osmond. The day concluded with an exhibition baseball game between the Weyburn Elks and a hospital team, with the home side emerging victorious, 9-7. According to local reportage, the day was a marked success. Two months later, Phyllis Gislason, a nurse at the hospital, commented in the local newspaper on the significance of sport and recreation to the culture of the Weyburn Hospital. In her view, "it is not healthy for a person to sit idle for hours or days or months." She continued, "In our hospital there are 64 different recreational activities in which the patients may participate." These activities included playing baseball, rolling bowling balls, hitting tennis balls, and dancing and cavorting at what were once called "Lunatic Balls".
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationSaskatchewan History
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • psychiatry
  • mental health
  • asylum
  • sports


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