Tobermory Hyperbaric Chamber


Help Us Rebuild the Tobermory Hyperbaric Chamber & Facility

For Divers, Patients, Researchers

To provide first class Hyperbaric Services
to all patients and divers
while creating a nucleus of talented and knowledgeable staff
who can promote hyperbaric research and education.

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Dan Orr
Dan Orr Consulting LLC

“There has been a hyperbaric facility in Tobermory since 1976. During that time, it has provided essential medical and educational support for the North American diving community. Now it’s our turn to provided needed assistance to help upgrade this facility so it can continue to support divers who enjoy one of the world’s premier diving locations, The Fathom Five National Marine Park. Please join me in supporting this program to update and modernize the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility. I am making my donation today and I encourage you to make yours by May 30 2015.”

Dan Orr, President of Dan Orr Consulting LLC
President Emeritus, Divers Alert Network (DAN)
President, Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences
Chairman, Historical Diving Society Board of Directors
Member, Diving Industry and International Scuba Diving Halls of Fame
Member, International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame

Help Us Rebuild For Divers, Patients And Research
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What Is Hyperbaric

Hyperbaric medicine, also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), is the medical use of oxygen at a level higher than atmospheric pressure. The equipment required consists of a pressure chamber, which may be of rigid or flexible construction, and a means of delivering 100% oxygen. Operation is performed to a predetermined schedule by trained personnel who monitor the patient and may adjust the schedule as required.


Diver Safety, Training & Rescue

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the use of 100% oxygen at an increased atmospheric pressure. It was developed to treat victims of diving accidents. The value of hyperbaric therapy in the treatment of Diving Injuries is well established. HBO Therapy is used to treat diving conditions such as air embolism, decompression illness and near drowning accidents.

Hyperbaric Medical Therapy

Medical Therapy

In addition to treating dive related injuries, there are other medical and surgical diseases which respond quite well to this therapy. The hyperbaric chamber is used for hyperbaric oxygen treatment for conditions recognized by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

There are now 14 medical conditions known to respond to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy that are covered by OHIP. As research in hyperbaric medicine continues, more and more indications for hyperbaric therapy will be discovered.


Research & Education

The Hyperbaric Facility has also been used and we hope to enhance it’s use for diver and medical personnel education and dive research. Dr. Harpur has conducted many research studies and provided training in many aspects of diver education and hyperbaric medicine.

Where We’ve Come From

The chamber we operate was started in 1976 via a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The primary objective – and the reason we received the grant – was to reduce the number of diving fatalities within Fathom Five by establishing a facility close enough to its boundaries that could provide meaningful/timely aid in emergencies. The chamber was enormously successful in this regard and its proximity to National Park waters has been the difference between life and death on more than one occasion.

Tobermory Hyperbaric Old Chamber

The Early Days

In 1970, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Province of Ontario, embarked upon an ambitious program to establish the first Canadian Underwater Park in the area of the tip of the Bruce Peninsula adjacent to Tobermory. This program, as well as the existence of many shipwrecks in a state of preservation and exceptionally clear waters, has led to the attraction of high numbers of divers to the vicinity. With this intensive diving program being carried out, there have inevitably been a significant number of diving accidents requiring the use of a recompression chamber. It is well known that the success of such treatment decreases rapidly with the time elapsed until the diver is recompressed. Aware of these facts, the Ministry felt that it had an obligation to establish a recompression chamber in conjunction with the underwater park, then called Fathom Five. One of the formidable obstacles to such a facility was provision of trained and knowledgeable staff.

Photo of Dr. Harpur on rotary dial phone in hyperbaric chamber tobermory

Dr. Harpur’s Arrival

In 1974, a doctor moved to Tobermory and shortly thereafter the Tobermory Health Clinic was established. This doctor was well versed in diving medical problems and was qualified to undertake the supervision of a recompression facility. The presence of medical staff and the existence of the medical clinic provided an answer to most of the difficulties the Ministry of Natural Resources had encountered. Together with the former Township of St. Edmunds (now Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula) funds were made available for the installation of a recompression facility on the site of the Tobermory Medical Clinic. After considerable work, the chamber arrived in Tobermory in January 1976.


The Doors Open

The Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility was opened in 1976. In a period of close to 40 years, the hyperbaric facility facilitated the training of divers with respect to hyperbaric chambers, decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, etc., assisted divers that suffered from decompression sickness and other diving related injuries; conducted numerous research projects; participated in the testing of equipment; treated thousands of patients with conditions such as, but not limited to, carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, problem wounds, flesh eating disease, osteomyelitis; etc.; and trained many medical personnel.

Where We Are Going

It’s time for an upgrade! We are rebuilding the Hyperbaric Chamber and renewing the Facility for Divers, Patients, Researchers. Our mission is to to provide first class Hyperbaric Services to all patients and divers while creating a nucleus of talented and knowledgeable staff who can promote hyperbaric research and education.

Tobermory Hyperbaric Chamber Compressed Air Supply

Hyperbaric Renewal

It’s time for an upgrade! We are rebuilding the Hyperbaric Chamber and renewing the Facility for Divers, Patients, Researchers. Our mission is to to provide first class Hyperbaric Services to all patients and divers while creating a nucleus of talented and knowledgeable staff who can promote hyperbaric research and education.

New Facility

We are in the process of refurbishing the former Toronto General Hospital hyperbaric chamber for our new medical facility. The “new” chamber was used by the Canadian Navy team to develop and test the new approach to decompression using computers (initially pneumatic analogue computers). The team was headed by Roy Stubbs and Captain Kidd. The new chamber was transported to the new medical facility in 2012 and is in the process of being cleaned, scraped, sanded, primed and painted.

For Healthcare and Community

Our continued success and growing capacity in the treatment of medical patients has led to the governing Board of the Hyperbaric Facility to expand on its mandate of diver safety to also include becoming a first-rate research and healthcare facility. We are still in the midst of finalizing this project but our mission is very clear; to provide first class hyperbaric services to all patients and divers while creating a nucleus of talented and knowledgeable staff who can promote hyperbaric research and education. The hope is that we will receive enough support and interest in the facility’s new direction to open our doors again in 2015 with a new enhanced facility so we can continue to support the sport of diving, provide diver safety and training and rescue, medical therapy and research.

Our Team

  • Dr. George Harpur
      Dr. George HarpurMedical Director

      George Harpur is the Medical Director of the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility, a Coroner for the Province of Ontario, and has been closely associated with Tobermory Health Services since 1974.

    • Scarlett Janusas
        Scarlett JanusasHyperbaric Board Member

        Scarlett is an active diver, former dive instructor, and was the Chief Operator and Facilities Manager of the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility for over 15 years and received her certified hyperbaric technician certificate. Scarlett is the President of an archaeological consulting firm conducting both land and underwater archaeology projects. She now serves as a member of the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facilities board.

      • Dana Holmes
          Dana HolmesHyperbaric Board Member

          Dana has been a cottage owner in Tobermory since 1990, a diver since 1976 and a tender at the Hyperbaric Chamber since 2007. An active volunteer, a former Human Resources practitioner and now a Conflict Resolution Advisor (Chartered Mediator) Dana brings this experience to her role on the Board.

        • Pete Dean
            Pete DeanHyperbaric Board Member

            Pete is a lifelong resident of Tobermory. Owner/operator of a diving boat for over 30 years and was involved in commercial fishing and welding operations. He built his own 58 ft steel boat. He was one of the founders of the Tobermory Medical Clinic Auxiliary. Pete represented the area on the Bruce Peninsula Health Services and served as Chair. He also served term on local council and was involved in establishing the Neighbourhood Watch program.

          Help Us Reach Our Goal So We Can Rebuild, Renew And Open A New Enhanced Hyperbaric Facility in 2015

          Please Help

          Treatment Stories
          Help Us Rebuild For Patients, Divers, And Research
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          Capt. Bret C. Gilliam
          OCEAN TECH

          “It is my privilege and honor to provide a heartfelt endorsement to the Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility and its invaluable role to safety in the diving community… now approaching four decades of service. The facility’s educational, emergency medical and chamber treatment programs, as well as its pioneering research has earned an international reputation for excellence. Under the leadership of Dr. George Harpur, advances have been made in innovative protocols and procedures that have enlightened the worldwide diving industry. The facility and its educational work has saved lives, prevented accidents, and helped change the way everything from recompression therapy to rescue techniques are conducted. The Tobermory Hyperbaric Facility and Dr. Harpur are truly deserving of any and all support that can be mustered in their fund raising campaign. I urge all divers, snorkelers, kayakers, boaters, and swimmers to generously support the effort. It is vitally important.”

          Founder and former President of dive training agencies TDI, SDI, and ERDI; ex-Chairman of the NAUI Board of Directors; former publisher of Scuba Times, Deep Tech, Fathoms, and Diving Adventure magazines; ex-President & CEO of UWATEC; 44 years of hyperbaric chamber operation at sea and in remote locations; inducted to Diving’s Hall of Fame by the Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences and recipient of the NOGI Award for diving Sports/Education.

          Your Donation Helps Save Lives. Thank you.

          How To Donate?

          You can donate right here at our website, in person or by mailing a cheque.

          See all details on how to donate here: DONATE NOW.

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