Alexis Creek Hospital celebrates a century

For 23 years, Mary Engelbert carried a portable telephone, ready to respond when someone needed medical care in Alexis Creek.

Tracy Watson

Special to Tribune/Advisor

For 23 years, Mary Engelbert carried a portable telephone so that she was always ready to respond when someone needed medical care in Alexis Creek.

On Sept. 13, the former nurse will be among those who gather to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the provision of health care in the small Chilcotin community, located about 110 kilometres west of Williams Lake.

In 1914, the Alexis Creek Hospital first opened its doors, and it has remained open in one form or another for the past century.

Today, it is called the Alexis Creek Health Centre, and is operated by Interior Health.

“What stories this old building could tell from the last 100 years — from the joy of the birth of a newborn, to the sadness that accompanies the death of a loved one. I am pleased to have been a part of it for nearly a quarter century,” says Engelbert, who retired in 2007 and still resides in Alexis Creek.

Physicians and staff, both former and current, and residents are invited to attend a celebration at the Alexis Creek Community Hall this Saturday, Sept. 13.

An afternoon tea will be held from 1-3 p.m., and there will be historical photos and accounts on display as well as old-fashioned games.

Horse-and-wagon tours will travel from the community hall to the health centre.

A cake cutting and recognition event will be held at 4 p.m., with a potluck dinner to follow at 5:30 p.m., when residents and former employees will be invited to share their stories.

“The old hospital has a distinguished and proud history in Alexis Creek,” says Donna Barnett, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA. “I wish to offer my congratulations as we mark 100 years of medical care for the residents there, and my gratitude to the dedicated physicians and nurses who have served the community over the last century.”

The exact date the original hospital opened in Alexis Creek is unclear.

Historical records show that a local rancher named Alex Graham recognized the need for medical care and recruited Dr. William Wright to come to the area in 1912. Dr. Wright set up practice in a small cabin so he could care for patients while the hospital was being built. It opened its doors some time in 1914 and saw a number of physicians and nurses serve there over the years.

In 1949, the Red Cross Society took over management of the facility and it was known as the Alexis Creek Red Cross Outpost Hospital for the next 56 years.

In 2005, the Red Cross transferred all its Outpost hospitals to the provincial government.

Interior Health took over management at that time and it eventually became the Alexis Creek Health Centre.

Today, the Health Centre is open five days per week, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with on-call care available after hours and on weekends for urgent matters.

Care is provided by a rotation of two Rural Remote Certified Nurses. In addition, a Nurse Practitioner provides a primary care clinic once per week.

“Health care has changed profoundly over the last 100 years, but what has not changed is the dedication of health-care professionals to provide quality care for the patients they serve,” says Norman Embree, Interior Health board chair.

“Our staff at the Alexis Creek Health Centre work as a team with our many health-care partners, and I am proud of the commitment they show in providing quality care each and every day.”

For more information about the Sept. 13 celebration, please contact Mary Engelbert at, Kim Mernett at, or Lynn Blatchford at

Interior Health is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and providing a wide range of quality health-care services to more than 742,000 people living across B.C.’s vast interior.

For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @Interior_Health, or like us on Facebook at

Tracy Watson is the communications officer with Interior Health.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

International Women’s Day is March 8. (
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

The OT Timber Frames Ltd. crew of Wacey MacDonald (from left), Sean Empey, Josh Douglas, Kurt Leuenberger, Ruedi Baumann, Simon Gansner, Annie Murray (in front) and Josie the dog stand in front of a newly constructed timber frame outdoor classroom for the 150 Mile House Elementary School. (Photo submitted)
The Fox Mountain Trail Network will undergo a significant machine- and hand-built upgrade thanks to a $253,000 grant from the province’s Rural Economic Recovery program. (Scott Horley photo)
Major Fox Mountain bike trail upgrade project slated to begin this May

A machine-built downhill trail, along with an improved uphill route, are part of the project

Four projects in Williams Lake have received Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program funding. (City of Williams Lake photo)
$1.35 million CERIP funds going to projects in Williams Lake

Mayor Walt Cobb thanked the province for its investment in the community

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Most Read