Formed by the London Community Foundation (LCF), the Vision SoHo Alliance is a partnership between six non-profit housing developers, which includes Chelsea Green Home Society, Homes Unlimited, Indwell, Residenza Affordable Housing, London Affordable Housing Foundation, and Zerin Development Corporation. Vision SoHo Alliance will create 650-unit apartments, of which 30-60% will be affordable units, in seven buildings on the former South Street Victoria Hospital property. Most buildings will be located on the block bounded by Waterloo, South, Colborne, and Hill streets. Another building will be constructed at the northeast corner of South and Colborne. Indwell purchased the former Faculty of Medicine building and War Memorial Children’s Hospital to be redeveloped as housing and designated as heritage buildings under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The Vision SoHo Alliance tasked Western’s MA Public History Program with researching and compiling stories of St. David’s Ward, now known as the South of Horton, or SoHo neighbourhood (bounded by the Canadian National Railway and Adelaide Street with the Thames River acting as a natural south-west barrier), the former Western Faculty of Medicine building (1921), and the War Memorial Children’s Hospital (1922). This research included orally interviewing Londoners who had or have ties to the SoHo area. This is in effort to preserve the history of one of the oldest and most culturally diverse area in London, and which changed demographically following the medical school moving to Western’s main campus in 1965, the closing of War Memorial in 1985, and of Victoria Hospital in 2013.
Western’s MA Public History Program plans to use the compiled research and recordings to curate a digitally interactive outdoor exhibit installed in the green spaces of the Alliance’s property, which will highlight the significance of the neighbourhood and the area’s medical history.
The goals of this report are to:
• Document the history of the SoHo area, including Indigenous presence, immigration, and neighbourhood culture;
• Create a thematic historical overview of the neighbourhood, the medical school, and War Memorial Children’s Hospital;
• Compile associated stories, memories, and photographs provided by the public.