Margaret (Neily) Mainwaring- Class of 33
Margaret Mainwaring celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday February 5, 2011. A celebration was held at the Mann Park Lawn Bowling Club in White Rock attended by family and many friends.
Margaret was born in Toronto and moved to Vancouver as a young child. She attended school in Cranbrook, BC and entered VGH in 1930 and her first residence was West House where she shared a five- person dormitroy, later moved to Ellis House and then to the “Old Home”. After graduation in 1933 she worked at VGH and shared a room in a boarding house near the hospital- had a gas plate and a box ouside the window for a refrigerator. At that time VGH paid the highest wages for graduate nurses in Candada – $54/month + board and laundry. In 1935, she moved to Port Alice as jobs were at a premium during the Depression of the 1930s.
In 1941 she joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and after several delays arrived in Scotland March 1942. She nursed in military hospitals in England, later was sent to North Africa and Italy. She remembers being one of the first nurses to administer Penicillin – It was thick, brown and injected every 3 hours. At the end of the war, she retuned to Vancouver and nursed in Hawaii, and then moved to Wells (near Barkerville) where she worked as Matron of the 10- bed hospital and married Gerry North, a widower with three young boys. A daughter, Moria, was born in 1951.
In 1957, the family moved to Vancouver and Margaret did some “special nursing” and worked at Pearson TB hospital for a while. Her husband, an accountant, and she became interested in long term care, so opened Park View in New Westminster and a year later, the Cyrpess Nursing home in Vancouver. They discovered many residents wanted private rooms, so opened Garden Manor in Ladner. Margaret was the charge nurse, assisted by an RN and aides. All three homes were licensed and they operated them until the mid 1970s. After Gerry died, Margaret moved to White Rock in 1976 and married her second husband – Mickey Mainwaring – who unfortunately died six months later.
Living independently in her apartment, Margaret leads an active life enjoying ballroom dancing, lawn and carpet bowling. She is a regular attendee at our annual lunches and was presented with a corsage at the May 1 , 2011 lunch in recognition of her 100th birthday.