After years of construction, some scandals and much second guessing, Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital’s move to the new McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) super hospital site is now mere days away. I hope those who are charged with overseeing things don’t make the same mistake that the Montreal Canadiens made when they moved. Yes, I’m talking about ghosts.
In 1996 the Canadiens made the move east to their new and bigger digs at what was then the Molson Centre. There was a parade down Ste. Catherine Street and hoopla like only the Habs can do hoopla. But, as evidenced by the lack of Stanley Cups since the move, it would appear they forgot to extend an invitation to the famous Forum Ghosts. Those spirits of past greatness who are alleged to have helped-out subsequent squads once in a while: a few bounces of the puck the home team’s way here, an extra Boston Bruin on the ice there. I have a hunch that the ghosts were irked about the whole move and are dragging their feet (skates?) to show their displeasure. But they will arrive eventually, with any luck this spring.
There is an important lesson to be learned here. Given the Royal Vic’s long history of providing excellent health care, and the claim by many that several spirits have, over the years, taken up residence in the hospital, those overseeing the moving job must figure out how to include the door-slamming, light-flicking specters in the transfer to the new facility. I hope that any bidding on what is no doubt a very lucrative contract included a Ghost Clause outlining how the contractor plans to get the apparitions from A to B.
I suspect that in an effort to avoid the traffic on Sherbrooke Street, consideration is being given to taking an overland route along Cote des Neiges, Queen Mary and then down Decarie to the new hospital. However I fear the temptation of a quick visit to one of the large cemeteries along that stretch may be too much for the Royal Vic’s ghosts to resist.
Since the move we have watched the ghostless Habs struggle in their quest for a twenty-fifth Stanley Cup. When the issue at hand is the much more important one of providing first-class health care, there is no room for error. The Royal Vic’s phantoms must be made welcome at the new super hospital.