On October 29, 2020, Scarborough lost a long-time champion and supporter. Margaret Birch, the namesake of the Margaret Birch Wing at Scarborough Health Network’s Centenary hospital, was a staple of the Scarborough community for much of her life.
Margaret was a member of the original planning committee for Scarborough Centenary Hospital, as it was then called, and was instrumental in ensuring the hospital opened to serve the rapidly growing Scarborough community in 1967.
A devoted MPP for Scarborough East for 13 years, Margaret defied gender norms and, in 1972, had the distinction of becoming the first woman appointed to the Ontario Cabinet. In her role, she oversaw a vast ministry which, at the time, was responsible for social services. Her work directly impacted the lives of millions of Ontarians and remains part of the puzzle that makes Ontario the exceptional place it is today.
In 1986, a new wing built to house inpatient and outpatient rehab services, complex continuing care, and a very busy Emergency Department was named after Margaret in recognition of her service to the hospital and the community. The Margaret Birch Wing continues to be a beloved part of the Centenary hospital, where staff and patients alike are inspired by her story and legacy.
While we mourn the passing of one of the great women of our collective history, we also celebrate a life lived to its fullest filled with family, community and selflessness.
“You have no idea how thrilling it was to just come out here and watch it going up floor by floor. When I drive by even to this day, and I look up, I just feel such a sense of pride. It looks beautiful and it’s in a beautiful site – that’s my hard work. Makes me feel it was all worthwhile.”
- Margaret Birch
To make a donation in memory of Margaret Birch, please click here.