Marilyn Bell Chenier and Nancy Gallacher

Marilyn Bell Chenier joined North York General Hospital as a nurse in September 1968 when Sheppard Avenue was still a dirt road; and met her lifelong friend Nancy Gallacher, who started as the clerk in the emergency department three months earlier when it was just getting organized.

Marilyn: We had a lot of fun. There weren't that many rules in those days. We were very idealistic. We thought we were the best and we were going to give the best service.

Nancy: We did have some amazing laughs and some amazing cries.

Marilyn: Nancy was the chief cook and bottlewasher in our [emergency] department. She was the first person the ambulance crew saw, in the very beginning, the first person they registered with.

Nancy: We didn't have triage then.

Marilyn: No, we didn't have triage nurses. She was everything.

Nancy: We would push a button if someone was going to hit the floor. And if you came in and you had a chest pain and you were under 45, well that couldn't be [their] heart so you'd ask them to take a seat.

Marilyn: We had no security, the doors were open 24/7.
Nurse Marilyn Bell Chenier and NYGH colleagues
Nurse Marilyn Bell Chenier (top row, second from left) with medical team
Nancy Gallagher, ER Secretary
Emergency Room Secretary Nancy Gallagher
Nursing station 1972
Nursing station 1972