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From the San

Rose Learmonth’s Dad


Feb. 24/02

I had some old pictures from the Fort San that belonged to my Dad—Mike Breti.

My Dad worked at the sanatorium from 1945 to 1978. Dad passed away in February of 2001.

Rose Learmonth's letter

Dad was first an orderly in 1945. he was transferred to the garden job because previously he was a farmer. He was head-gardener until 1978. He self-educated himself by reading every garden book he could find. There were usually 12 or more men that worked with Dad. I have the time books he kept to mark the men who worked with him. Many of these men were Indians from the Standing Buffalo Reserve.

Fort San orderlies

Male Orderlies at Fort San, c. 1950s


The fresh garden produce was used to feed the patients. There were huge gardens behind the power house. There are root cellars on the east side of the San where the surplus vegetables were kept.

After Dad retired the green house was torn down.

I made Dad an album in the summer of 2000. Dad and I went to the San grounds and walked around. As Dad reminisced I took pictures of the buildings. I have the pictures (50) but I don’t know if you’d like them.

Fort San patients

Male Patients at Fort San, c. 1940s. Courtesy of Rose Learmonth


I wish Dad were here to tell you of his experiences with the T.B. patients and the Summer School of Arts students. His memory was so good.

Dad was always visible outside at the San. His nephew’s wife who worked there always called him ‘Uncle Mike’ so all the nurses and aides called him that for years.

Mike Breti

Mike Breti, Head Gardener, c. 1970s. Courtesy of Rose Learmonth


There was a residence for female staff. The female staff were called San Bags.

I would like my pictures back when you are finished with them. Only one picture has the names of the patients. Maybe a senior ex-patient or ex staff member may know the name of the staff and patients in the pictures.


Rose Learmonth

Box 33
Indian Head, SK

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