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​​​​​​​​​​Canada means home. You are listening to UHN Home.

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My ​name is Veronica Marcos. My duties at Princess Margaret Hospital I am a housekeeping aid. I work for the Housekeeping department.

I came from mainland Portugal, 70 km west of Lisbon.

Portugal is a very historical place. A lot of people don't know sometimes about Portugal history it's a very, very old country actually and there's a lot of history there with the museums and old churches. And there's beaches everywhere and pasteis de nata which is the famous Portuguese pastry if you go to Lisbon to that place it's like amazing. It's a very good country to visit for a holiday.

Veronica Marcos
Veronica Marcos works in Environmental Services at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, ensuring that patient and staff spaces are clean. (Photo: UHN)​

My sister was the first to immigrate, my older sister. So she sponsored all my brothers and sisters except for one that stayed in Portugal. Because I was the youngest my parents came so I was brought up with my parents to Canada.

I came to Canada in 1968. I was 14 turning 15 the same year.

Because I was already of the age of starting to be a teenager I kind of didn't like it because I found it very dark because it was January. There were icicles hanging from the windows.

I lived in Kensington Market that was my original address when I came to Canada so that's when they had Augusta Avenue was all Portuguese.

Veronica cold food production
Veronica started her career at UHN working in Cold Food Production for the Nutrition department in the 70s. (Photo: Veronica Marcos)

My dream was to come to healthcare and I had a friend that worked at Nutrition, so she introduced me to Nutrition Department and I been there since 1974.

I was doing cold food production, which was like doing salads, desserts, sandwiches, catering, which I really, really enjoyed. It was a very good experience for me and I enjoyed it throughout these years.

Veronica Nutrition
For about 20 years, Veronica worked in the Nutrition department at Princess Margaret, until the move to University Ave. (Photo: Veronica Marcos)

In '94 when I went to Portugal unfortunately I had my husband passing away there….so my supervisor said to me that the coffee shop would be a good experience for my grieving process and I'm really thankful for her doing that and that helped me a lot.

When we moved in '95 to University I was one of four employees that opened the first gourmet café and I really enjoyed that part because I got to meet a lot of different people.

I loved it. I was the first person to come in - I was there at 5:30 in the morning, I put my coffees on, I used to put music beautiful music, I used to bake our own cookies there.

The smell of the coffee used to go all over throughout the hospital, third floor, second floor, they loved the smell of the coffee.

After a few years they decided to make it Druxy's and since then I've been doing housekeeping.

I get to meet a lot of outpatients and things like that. My favourite part is interacting with people and helping the patients – if someone stops me in the hallway and they are Portuguese and they are lost I'm very glad to help them through. And I really am proud of what I'm doing – really, really proud. And make sure things are clean for everyone. PMH has been a very good place for me.

Canada is home for me. I was very young when I came so Canada is home. Now I'm Canadian first, then Portuguese.​​​

Veronica trip
Veronica has lived in Toronto since the late 60s. On one of her outings in the city, she visited a museum. (Photo: Veronica Marcos)