Mary (May) Matilda Bird was born at
Woodchester Villa on November 17, 1889, and was schooled
at St. Margaret’s. Mary also attended the
Toronto Conservatory of Music and by 1913, was a music teacher advertising
her services in the Herald Gazette, a local newspaper.
visiting relatives in England, Mary enlisted as a Voluntary Aid Detachment
with the British Red Cross. Apparently, she was the lone Canadian in a
force sent to aid the White Russians. It is possible that she served in
the Prince’s Palace until the arrival of the Bolsheviks. During her
service, Mary worked in Egypt, England and Russia serving as a nurse. She
was granted medals for her war service but never spoke of her experiences. Her fiancée died during World War I.
Upon her return to Canada, Mary took her nursing degree at Western
Hospital, graduating in 1924. At Western Hospital, she was one of the head
nurses and was responsible for training student nurses. Later, Mary worked
in the tuberculosis ward at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and then
because a public health nurse for the city.
When Mary returned to Muskoka,
she worked with the Muskoka Health Unit for several years during the
1950s. Mary was considered to be selfless, popular, gregarious,
independent and progressive.
On January 3, 1977, Mary died.