A ‘Dear Doctor’ postcard – from Thailand to Esperanza, BC, Canada

As I now know, this is an example of a ‘Dear Doctor’ advertising postcard, sent by Abbott Laboratories in the 1950s and 60s to doctors and other health professionals.  These must have been ‘attention getters’ for sure. You can see that at one time someone had this particular one pinned up, perhaps as ‘art’.

I think my mother collected this card at one of the many stamp/collectable shows or flea markets we’ve attended. She’d have been interested in the image of Thailand. When I saw it, I was more interested in the address it was sent to – Esperanza, BC!

Esperanza and Esperanza Inlet are on the north side of Hecate Channel, south of Zeballos on the west coast of Vancouver Island in the Nootka Land District, British Columbia, Canada. Apparently the British Captain Cook named ‘Hope Bay’ in 1778, which was changed by the Spaniard Captain Malaspina to ‘Espérance’ in 1791. BC Geographical Names database (citing John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: Their Origin and History, published for the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1909, as reprinted 1971).

According to the official BC Geographical Names database, the name of the settlement was adopted in 1946, changed to Esperanza Landing in 1959, then changed back in 1983.  Originally a nearby cannery post office (1926) was called Ceepeecee from the initials of the Canadian Packing Company; the name Esperanza was adopted for the settlement post office in 1960 but it closed in 1974.  The hospital there operated from the 1930s till 1974 when it closed.

See The Dear Doctor Postcard Collector Page by Tom Fortunato for more about these cards. And David C. Lai has written a book about them, Pentothal Postcards (Mark Batty Publisher, 2005). See the link at the bottom of The Dear Doctor page linked above.

A Dear Doctor postcard - sent from Thailand to British Columbia, CanadaFront of a ‘Dear Doctor’ postcard, titled on the back, ‘Dhonburi, Thailand, scenery of Pagoda of Dawn’ and mailed to Dr. Herman McLean, Superintendant, Esperanza General Hospital, Esperanza, B.C. Canada.

Back of a Dear Doctor postcard - sent from Thailand to British Columbia, Canada

 The back of the same ‘Dear Doctor’ postcard. Unfortunately someone removed the no doubt colourful stamp, and along with it, most of the postmark.



This video, Esperanza Vancouver Island 2009, published by thewestcoaster on YouTube, shows the modern Esperanza and its beautiful location along with historical photographs. For more about the Esperanza hospital and Esperanza today, see these links: BC Christian News and Esperanza Ministries.

4 thoughts on “A ‘Dear Doctor’ postcard – from Thailand to Esperanza, BC, Canada

  1. Your postcard is a fascinating find. I am a current resident of Esperanza, BC. You may wish to know your place names are slightly off. Esperanza is actually in Hecate Channel and not located in Esperanza Inlet. Ceepeecee was and still is located in a separate bay, slightly south of the opening in Hecate Channel and of Esperanza. It is the post office that moved between the two locations on the dates you mentioned. Also, according to our records, the site name of Esperanza has had that name since it’s inception in 1937. The ministry’s association has changed slightly – according to your stated dates. We still operate as a mission, although without a hospital. I currently live in Dr. Herman McLean’s original home.

    • Hi, thanks for your reply. You live in a very beautiful area of BC. As you will have seen, most of the information I used comes from the GeoBC website. There it’s also mentioned that an old name they have showing for Esperanza was McLeans Landing, but there are not notes about it apparently.

  2. I came across an advertisement in our local paper for trips up to the west coast I was going down memory lane.I lived in CeePeeCee around 1948 or so,my father worked the cannery there.We lived there for about four years or so.The local nurse was Elly Nielson,and her son Donny.We use to go over to Esperanza in kayaks all the time to visit the Becker Family who owned the Esperanza Hotel.Our exciting time was when the Maquina when be coming in to bring supplies & we could go on for comic books & sweets.Oh those were very happy times and yes it is the most beautiful part of the world.Thanks for the memories. Diane

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