It was a visit they had been anticipating for weeks.
When Margaret Birch walked into the Complex Continuing Care unit at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital’s Centenary site on July 14, staff welcomed her like a celebrity.
There was good reason for such a warm welcome. For staff, it was the chance to meet the namesake of the Margaret Birch Wing where they work, and to hear from someone who has played an integral role in the history the Centenary site from the very start.
A devoted MPP for Scarborough East for 13 years, in September 1972 Margaret Birch had the distinction of becoming the first woman appointed to the Ontario Cabinet. Also a dedicated volunteer leader in the community, she was instrumental in finding the land for Scarborough Centenary Hospital (as it was then called) and seeing the hospital open to serve the rapidly growing community of Scarborough in 1967.
When Centenary needed to expand, a new wing was built to house inpatient and outpatient rehab services, complex continuing care, and a very busy Emergency Department and supporting lab services. In honour of Margaret’s service to the hospital and the community, the Board of Directors named this new facility after her. The Margaret Birch Wing was officially opened on June 18, 1986 by former Premier David Peterson. Now 96, Margaret has continued to be a supporter and champion for the hospital ever since.
“The staff were thrilled when I told them Margaret Birch would be visiting our unit,” said Aaisha Savvas, Manager of the Complex Continuing Care unit and the Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network (GAIN) clinic at the Centenary site.
“It was an honour to meet Margaret Birch and to speak with such a living legend,” added Jill Sy, a Registered Practical Nurse on the Complex Continuing Care unit.
“So much of the Centenary site’s success – and indeed its very existence – is because of her efforts.”
In addition to meeting with staff, Margaret was also the star of the show in a number of other ways. Her visit included videotaping for a documentary focusing on one hundred years of women in Ontario politics; from the time women were first able to cast a ballot in 1917 to present day.
As well, she took time out to be interviewed by hospital representatives for a video series celebrating the Centenary site’s 50th anniversary.
“I’ve always been so impressed with the talented and passionate staff at Centenary and today was no exception,” said Margaret.
“Our dedicated staff, physicians, and volunteers continue to serve patients and families with compassionate, high quality care.”
Look out for the full video featuring Margaret, as well as other incredible stories celebrating #Centenary50, in the near future.