TRURO - Desiree Mason couldn't stop smiling from the moment the doors opened in the EHS vehicle that she and her new son were travelling in Sunday morning.
Mason, 23, of Shortts Lake, was the first patient to be transferred from the old Colchester Regional Hospital on Willow Street in Truro to the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre on Abenaki Road. And even a small crowd - mostly strangers - including a number of volunteers, media, hospital staff and a few visitors wasn't unnerving because Mason was so excited about the history-making moment.
"This is pretty special. Of all the people moved ... to be the first one," she said shortly after arriving. Her son Aiden, who was born in the old facility on Thursday night, also made the move in the same EHS vehicle with Mason shortly after 9 a.m. Fiance Joseph Matheson joined his wife-to-be and son.
"I walked into the hospital and saw a big welcoming," said Matheson, 24, adding the environment couldn't have been any better.
"I feel more at home; the other hospital feels gloomy. (The move) went very smoothly (and) the hospital is absolutely gorgeous."
As the couple cuddled with their first child in a newly furnished room, they were in awe of how much of an improvement the new site is compared to the old hospital.
"The rooms are ancient looking (at the old site) and needed technology," said Mason. "This is a complete makeover. It's unreal and cleaner."
Truro's Theresa Sylliboy, 66, said she felt like royalty moving into the new hospital.
"I feel like a queen because (I'm) coming to the new place and treated so good," said Sylliboy, who estimated she was in the old hospital for about 10 days before moving to the new site on Sunday.
Resting in the palliative care unit, Sylliboy was eager to talk about how pleased she was to be a part of the opening day at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre.
"I'm so grateful. There's not much I dislike," at the old hospital, she said, but "the new one is going to be something else."
Sylliboy admitted she was a bit nervous before being transferred, but that trepidation quickly changed to joy.
"I was nervous not knowing where I was going. When I started to hear the ambulance coming by the doors (of the) new place I felt calm again."
Sylliboy was also quick to acknowledge what a "beautiful place" the new hospital is and how friendly and kind the staff were during the transition.