Calgary's original Colonel Belcher Hospital opened in 1919 for World War I Veterans. Located in a former warehouse on 8th avenue, the facility was named for Lieutenant Colonel Robert Belcher, a cavalry officer and charter member of the Northwest Mounted Police. After seven years, the hospital united with the Ogden and Sunnyside Veterans' Hospital and moved to a larger location in the same area of Calgary.
With the outbreak of World War II, the hospital moved to its previous site on 12th avenue and 4th street SW., which was formerly the Senator Patrick Burns Estate. Ten years later, the hospital was extensively renovated and given a two-wing expansion. In 1991, the Colonel Belcher was designated a long term care facility exclusively for Canada's World War I, World War II and Korean war Veterans.
A broad-based and inclusive Veterans Health Task Force (representing government, health care sector, Veterans associations, and the community at large) was struck in 1996 to assess the needs for Veterans health in the Calgary region and to identify requirements for health care services for this population over the next fifteen years. The members of the Task Force undertook a comprehensive review of Veterans and seniors programs and care centres across the country, including an assessment of best practices. At the time of the study there were over 13,500 Veterans aged 65 years or older in the Calgary region. The peak period for care centre requirements for eligible Veterans was identified through the study as the period between 2001 and 2006, when the percentage of Veterans over the age of 80 was expected to reach 60%. With passage of the new Veterans' Charter, approximately 125,000 additional Canadian men and women became an eligible component of the veteran population that may require long term care in the future.
The present facility was opened in May 2003 and is operated by Carewest, a sector leader in continuing and long term care. Carewest Colonel Belcher offers an excellent facility and best practices in long-term care.