A woman stands facing the camera smiling. She is in a therapy gym in a hospital and there are dumbells and other equipment in the background

Centenarians remain among the fastest-growing segments of Canada’s population. As Mount Sinai Hospital celebrates 100 years of care and discovery, it continues to be a key leader in the field of geriatrics and aging. “We’ve made geriatric care a top priority,” says Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics. “We’re committed to supporting older people in ensuring they receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.”

Phyllis Pringle, 101

Born: 1923

Fresh from an exercise class at the seniors’ residence where she lives, Phyllis Pringle speaks clearly and expressively about having lived in Toronto her whole life. Although she uses a walker and has macular degeneration, her indomitable spirit shines through.

As a student at the University of Toronto, Phyllis studied sociology. Her father thought she might become a teacher but after hearing a social worker speak at a Careers Day, Phyllis knew she wanted to pursue social work. She became a case aide worker at the Protestant Children’s Homes where she worked for three years. “I really liked it,” she says. “I’d visit kids in foster homes, talk to the parent who was still responsible for the child, and help that parent to get re-established.”

After she married in 1949 and had the first of four sons the following year, Phyllis planned to keep doing the job she loved, but her father-in-law disapproved. “That was the old idea — that married women didn’t work.” Not to be deterred, Phyllis simply continued her social work on a volunteer basis by joining the Junior League. “I found a way to keep doing the work I loved.”

Today, Phyllis is still finding ways to keep doing the things she loves. Although her failing eyesight has made reading a challenge, she uses audio technology to listen to newspaper articles and books read aloud. In addition to daily exercises, she participates in current events programs and weekly quiz sessions at the retirement home. She credits her longevity to keeping her mind and body active. “You have to find ways to enjoy life — and I do.”

Read more about how Phyllis and three other centenarians stay engaged and curious.