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'Never be idle,' advises centenarian
Seated in a wheelchair, Inge Margot McDonald faced the small room filled with friends, family and well-wishers. They held up certificates signed by politicians marking her 100th year.
Cameras flashed as smiling onlookers captured the milestone birthday celebration last Friday. But the Richmond centenarian, known as Margot, was resting.
Then someone wheeled her toward the birthday cake. Margot stirred and smiled—it was, after all, chocolate.
Corinne Champagne, the granddaughter who's cared for her since a stroke eight years ago, helped her with a few forkfuls, and was quick to explain the reasons behind her grandmother's longevity.
"Eight glasses of water a day. Never be idle. Always find a new interest or hobby to keep you interested and keep you going."
Born Sept. 29, 1913 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Margot beat the odds early and has lived life to its fullest ever since. At six months she survived a 25-foot fall from a window, according to family, and then survived the Spanish flu.
She married, opened a dress salon and gave birth to her only child, Ilse. Her husband survived a Nazi concentration camp, but, Champagne said, was never the same.
Margot came to Canada with her daughter in 1956. She earned a teaching certificate in the arts from Banff School of Fine Arts (now the Banff Centre), and created visual art that can now be found in galleries and private collections around the world.
Margot also owned and ran racehorses.
In 2000, Margot staged her last art exhibition at Vancouver's VanDusen Botanical Garden, and sold most of the work on display. A few years later came the stroke. Doctors gave her a year to live and recommended palliative care. Champagne, who promised at age 15 she'd look after her grandmother, took Margot home instead.
On Friday, eight years later, Margot celebrated her 100th birthday at Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat's constituency office.
"To me she is my hero. She's an amazing human being," said Champagne, who said her grandmother motivated her to write a top e-book. "She encouraged me to do that. She's an inspiration."