Remembering the first nursing school in North America -- Mack School of Nursing, St Catharines, Niagara Region

We received a communication from Claudia Gilchrist, RN, class 1973, President of The Mack Alumni Association that is celebrating 146 years in 2020, the Year of the Nurse!:

In celebration of Nightingale’s 200th birthday, we remember that the very first nursing school in North America was formed in St Catharines, Niagara Region. Dr Theophilius Mack, who started the hospital in St Catharines, was very impressed when visiting the Nightingale nursing school in London, England. Nurses came from London to help start the first school in Canada, operating under the Nightingale system in 1874. Six graduated from the first class. It was known as The Mack Training School for Nurses up to 1969. The name changed to Mack School of Nursing, with the first graduating under this name in 1970, until its last class graduated in 1974. At that time the school closed and nursing programs were under the jurisdiction of the colleges.

As of today, the oldest active nursing alumni still is carrying on. The Mack Alumni members come together annually to celebrate the 1970 class, who would be celebrating their 50th anniversary. Unfortunately this year’s dinner is cancelled due to the virus, but we want the Class of 1970 to know that your nursing sisters congratulate you on your 50th!

Florence Nightingale had many famous quotes. In 1870 she said “It will take 150 years for the world to see the kind of Nursing I envision...” Is it a coincidence that if you take the year of the quote 1870 and add 150 years = the year 2020? Canadians should all be grateful at this time for her strength and her vision that made nursing a respected profession.

Stay safe for our nurses on the front lines.

Claudia Gilchrist ’73 – President, The Mack Alumni

To learn more about the Mack Alumni Association, go here.