MARKHAM -- The official opening of Innis MacDonald Park in Markham took place Sat., July. 16.
Dignitaries attending the event from the city of Markham included Mayor Frank Scarpitti, regional councilor Nirmala Armstrong, and councilors Karen Rea, Logan Kanapathi, and Amanda Collucci.
The Town Crier opened the event by ringing a large bell and announcing that Collucci would be the emcee for the ceremonies.
Mayor Scarpitti was first to speak. He said that Markham names their landmarks after people who made a difference in the community which is fitting for Markham’s motto “leading while remembering.” Innis Mary MacDonald was one such person.
MacDonald was born in 1902, the daughter of Dr. John A. MacDonald of the village of Markham. She was one of the first women in Ontario to obtain a degree in medicine, and went on to become the first woman Officer of Health in what was then called York County.
Mayor Scarpitti noted that a park is a place where the community comes together to tell stories and create new friendships.
Scarpitti then introduced Linda Dennis who is President of the Markham the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, a registered charity that promotes patriotism, loyalty and service to others. The Markham Chapter is a big supporter of 360 KIDS which is a place for at risk youth.
Dennis said that MacDonald was one of the founding members of the Markham chapter and this organization was very near and dear to her.
Distant cousin of Innis MacDonald, Beth Longhurst, spoke about how we are keeping history alive by connecting threads of the past to the present, noting that the person being honoured helped shape the city.
Patients would go into a darkened room to have their eyes examined and Dr. MacDonald would have a brace on her leg which was a legacy of the polio she suffered as a child.
MacDonald was a pioneer who continued her medical practice until she was 75-years-old, and died in 1983 at the age of 81.