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The McVittie Family’s Story

In January 1920, Stan McVittie was a fit and robust electrical engineer working at a hydroelectric generating plant on the Wanapitei River in Northern Ontario. Just six years out of university, he loved his work and the outdoor life he’d known all his life. The future was brilliant. While his young wife and daughter were visiting her parents in St. Marys, Stan developed a mild cough and a fever, but nothing to worry about for a healthy six-foot-two outdoorsman in his prime. A few days later while visiting his father and sister in Sudbury, his symptoms worsened slightly, so he paid a call on the family doctor “just to be safe.” Nine days later Stan was dead from the Spanish flu, like 50,000 other Canadians who’d died since the pandemic first appeared 18 months earlier.