Christina MacKay




Life and Work

"We were given no warning of what to expect. We were right at the front, with no permanent buildings, living in tents and tending to the wounded carried back from the trenches ... They were laid outside on stretchers. We went round and did what we could to ease their suffering until they were taken away to hospital. I was young and newly trained. It was an experience I have never forgotten."

She had immigrated to Innisfail from Scotland with her 11 brothers and sisters in 1912 before training as a nurse in Calgary in 1916. With WWI raging, Christina Mackay went off to the front as a nursing sister in 1917 with the Canadian Army. She was accepted at the last moment when one of her colleagues fell ill. Christina served in the Canadian Medical Corps from 1917 to 1919.

Described as "tall and regal; renown for her stern discipline but nevertheless kindly treatment of her student nurses," she returned to Calgary after the war, teaching surgical procedure to other nurses. She moved to Edmonton in 1920 and became chief surgical nurse at the University Hospital until her retirement in 1955.

Tina returned to Innisfail and served this community as a member of Presbyterian Church, the Innisfail Golf Club, the International Order Daughters of the Empire and the Red Cross. A life member of the Royal Canadian Legion, she celebrated her 100th birthday at the Innisfail Extended Care Unit. She died in 1992