A Brief History
The 1930's the Villa St. Joseph du Lacs present site was a popular site known as Lakeside Park. The bridge to the site was called Murphy's Bridge. Electric street cars from downtown Yarmouth went along the lake to the park. The lake at that time was part of a three pond chain connected by a stream known as Milton Ponds. They were called First Pond, Second Pond and Third Pond. Once the stream was dammed in Milton at the North end of Yarmouth the ponds flooded. Today the First Pond is presently Lake Milo, the Second Pond is referred to as Middle Lake and the Third Pond is presently Doctor's Lake. Lakeside Drive as it is called today was the Pond Road that runs along Lake Milo.
In the early 1930's, the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company built the Lakeside Inn on the site. It continued in operation until 1960. The Inn had a five star rating and was as popular locally as it was for American visitors. Its many interesting and grand architectural features are similar to those found in other railroad hotels of the era. It is built of concrete, speed tile and stone with stucco exterior finish in the French Eclectic style and has a deep verandah across the front of the main section. The property also housed five separate cottages, a boathouse and a pump house, a water tower which supplied the facility water as well as several onsite fire hydrants, a tennis court and a small beach area.
At the request of Bishop Lamenager, Bishop of the Diocese of Yarmouth in Nova Scotia, Les Religieuses Hospitalieres de Saint- Joseph (RHSJ) accepted to found a home for the elderly in an old hotel that had been purchased by the diocese. The foundresses, Sisters Melanie Lavoie, Yvonne Hubert and Claudia Toussaint called Sirios, arrived on October 9, 1958. One month later they welcomed 17 residents into this house called Foyer Saint-Joseph; ten other residents were admitted before the end of 1959
On April 1, 1960, the Congregation bought a luxury hotel, Lakeside Inn that had been up for sale by the Canadian Pacific Company at a very good price, with the condition that the property be used exclusively as a hospital, a home for the aged, a religious education institution, or similar work.
In 1964, faced with increased requests for admission at the Villa St. Joseph, a floor was added to the north wing for the Sisters and an elevator. A Board of Directors was established in 1965 and since the late 80's, early 90's the position of the Administrator was entrusted to a lay person.
In 1977 the kitchen was renovated. In 1982 an addition was Put onto the east wing. The addition included a second elevator, a physio room, two resident lounges, two whirlpool rooms and a covered link from the kitchen to the new addition and lobby. In 1991 on the North wing a quite room, a whirlpool room, a fire escape up to the Sisters floor and a chapel were added. In 2005 the steam heating system was replaced with an oil fired hot water heating system.
Today, Villa Saint-Joseph du Lac operates as a provincially funded, not-for-profit facility with an operating capacity of 79 residents. After 55 years of residing in the former Lakeside Hotel, the new Villa opened its doors on July 4, 2015. The new building is a two story construction containing 79 private rooms divided into 6 separate villas under one roof. The site itself is accessible from Highway 1, Dayton, NS via the Murphy's Bridge and sits on 30 acres.