Quick facts

Story kiosk location

  • Corner of Carling and Parkdale avenue at the Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus

Important dates

  • 1924 – The year that the Ottawa Civic Hospital opened its doors.


Who lived here?

  • Sharon began work as a laboratory technician in the pathology department in the 1960s, contributing to crucial developments in disease screening. She retired in 2013.

Imagine your workday being interrupted by a visit from the Governor General of Canada...

That’s what lab technician Sharon Argue experienced in the late 1960s.


The photograph that you see at Carling and Parkdale features laboratory technician Sharon Argue (standing on the far right) inspecting new medical equipment during Governor General Roland Michener’s visit to her laboratory in the late 1960s. Sharon began working as a laboratory technician (now known as a laboratory technologist) at the Grace Hospital in Ottawa in 1966(demolished in 1999), shortly transferring to the pathology department of the Ottawa Civic Hospital. She retired in 2013.


The majority of technicians who worked in hospital laboratories, at a time of great medical discoveries and innovations, were women. However, when historians talk about important discoveries in medical technology during the second half of the 20th century, the contribution of these women were hardly recognized.


While each woman was trained in many research and testing areas, they usually focused on one or two during their working lives. Sharon had two specializations during her career: analysing specimens for haematology and biochemistry for the critical task of disease screening. This website showcases a fascinating array of photographs, documents, and artifacts from Sharon’s personal collection.

This certificate was presented to Sharon in 1994 in recognition of her membership in the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario, a group that regulates and ensures compliance with laboratory standards in the province of Ontario. This is just one example of his many years of membership.

Sharon Argue (née Harrison) was awarded the “General Medical Laboratory Technique” medical degree on May 5, 1966, allowing her to work in hospital laboratories across the country.

Although Sharon did not see her patients directly every day, she knew that her work made a big difference in their lives. The results of her analysis could strongly influence the methods used to cure a patient, and the slightest mislabelling or miscalculation of blood characteristics could result in death. This well-known oath by medical technologists, held in high regard in the field, was a daily reminder of the importance of their work.


Photo of Sharon in her medical uniform, circa 1985.

A newly renovated and fully equipped laboratory at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, circa 1985. Sharon worked in an environment that was constantly being used to test new medical technologies designed to detect all kinds of diseases.


Sharon in a lab coat at her workstation, with a new laboratory microscope, in the 1980s or early 1990s.

Listen to hear more about medical technologists