Project Description


Mary-Ellen Bower Birtles ran a tight ship, or perhaps more accurately, a tight hospital. A graduate from the nursing school at the Winnipeg General Hospital in 1889, she moved Calgary in 1894 to become the first matron of the new Calgary General Hospital. According to a memoir, Mary-Ellen brought starched Victorian standards to her pioneering role, saying she was “exceedingly strict with the nurses under her charge and would not tolerate any nonsense, or grant special favours.”