If one is aware of the health care history in Midland, then it is but a short leap to imagine that the friendly ghost of Miss Emma Baker wanders the halls of Georgian Bay Hospital as she did at the old St. Andrew’s.
Miss Baker, the Mother Theresa of her era was the initial superintendent of the original Midland Penetanguishene Marine Hospital in Sunnyside. Built in 1903 at a whopping cost of $6,000, the three storey, 12 bed hospital consisted of both ward and private room: 50 cents a day for ward, $1.50 private.
When the cook failed to show up it was Miss Baker who cooked the meals, after hours she mended, made jams and jellies and chased away cows that wandered on hospital grounds. There wasn’t a nursery since most infants were born at home but those born at the hospital were sheltered in baskets in the laundry room and often slept comfortably in chest of drawers.
When Miss Baker retired in 1942 after three decades of service she wrote down many of her memories including the time in post WWI years, rum runners were caught down at the harbour by local police who confiscated the cargo and turned it over to Miss Baker; she eventually hid under the eaves which she doled out for medical purposes.
By 1922 a cow was added to the hospital and chickens too, so patients could have fresh meals and eggs. Nurses were paid $6 a month in first year, $7 in the second and $8 in the third. Miss Baker’s stipend was $100 a month.
She was strong-willed, generous, kind and most of all much-loved. She was a leader. A case in point, she paid for all the furnishings in the nurses boarding house adjacent to the hospital.
And so as her ghost wandered the halls at St. Andrew’s Hospital one believes she is quietly doing the same at Georgian Bay General Hospital……just making certain everything is up to snuff as she did at the Old Marine Hospital in Sunnyside where she often worked/lived 24 hours a day often weeks at a time and for her $100 a month.
Yes this writer believes in ghosts, especially if they are good ghosts.