Just south of the hospital here is a large conservation area, the Westminster Ponds, now totally surrounded by the city. But back in 1943 this was rural farmland and forest beyond the city. This is where they built the Westminster Veterans' Village, one of seven in Canada.
Built to treat veterans returning from WWII with 'shell shock', it picked up on the idea that natural surroundings would help their recovery. This idea was pioneered in Canada by Dr. Richard Bucke here in London. The 'village' was surrounded on three sides by forest, so it was a good location. As well lots of recreation facilities were developed, including a swimming pool, baseball diamond, and small golf course.
Originally there were 11 buildings, of which 7 were demolished, and 4 still stand. Three of these are boarded up, but the 4th is in use as office space for non-profits, including Thames Talbut Land Trust. An interesting detailed description is available in a 2013 report on a cultural heritage plan for the area. Most building space provided beds for veterans, but there were recreational and dining facilities too. The tops of the foundations of the demolised cottages can still be seen, as well as the big stone chimnies of fireplaces. With the 4 old cottages, several exposed foundations, and a view of one of the ponds, it's an interesting landscape.
Now there is a plan led by Reforest London, to restore and develop the 4 remaining cottages as an environmental centre. Reading about it, out there just a kilometre away, was fascinating.