Trinidad -born retired psychiatric nurse
Iva Harper-Smith who lives in Scarborough,
Ontario, turned 100 on November 4 last.
Mamma Iva, as she is affectionately called, attributed her long life to ” a good diet, exercise and holding on to her goals.”
In a telephone interview on Tuesday last, she told the Caribbean Camera, that apart from bouts of arthritis, she enjoys relatively good health.
But she no longer rides a motor bike, she chuckled.
Mamma Iva who was born in Port of Spain, said she was the first licensed female motor cyclist in Trinidad and used her bike to get to and from work.
She recalled that she was often stopped by the police while riding her bike and asked to show her rider’s permit.
Her career in nursing spanned several decades.
“My career goal was to be a psychiatric nurse,” she said.
After working for several years at a psychiatric hospital in Trinidad, she migrated to Canada in 1955.
She settled in Montreal and continued her career in nursing at a psychiatric hospital.
Mamma Iva who got married at 17, brought her four children – three sons and a daughter – to Canada.
Her eldest son died three years ago after he suffered a massive heart attack.
She said her husband, Clement, passed away in Trinidad many years ago
She now has eleven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Last month more than 125 family members and friends from various parts of the Caribbean, the United States and Canada got together at the Tropicana Hall of Excellence in Scarborough to celebrate her birthday, weeks in advance of the actual date.