Isabel Hayes among the world’s oldest at 111

One of the oldest women in the world spent most of her 111 years in East End Toronto.

Isabel Hayes (nee Dunn) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 17, 1900, and came to Canada in her early 20s.  In 1931 she married James Hayes and spent a few years at Cherry Nook Gardens (at Queen and Greenwood), then moved several times in the East End, finally living on her own in the Coxwell  and Danforth area until she was 100. She was widowed in 1961.

Despite having eight children including a set of twins, Mrs. Hayes was often employed outside the home, and worked until she was in her late 70s.  In the 1930s, she was a domestic for Lady Moss as well as Sir Ernest McMillan.  She also worked at St. Michael’s Hospital and at Robinson Candies. She was a caregiver for the children of former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

She now lives in a nursing home in Richmond Hill. Up until she was 107, she was in very good health and could get around on her own.  At the present time she is very frail, said her grandson Michael Dumas, but she still has that fighting Scottish heart and is a going concern. She loves music and dance.  He recalled his grandmother performing a Highland fling on her 100th birthday.  He said that she loved to bake and made great apple pies, and the best grape jelly from grapes she picked in her garden when she lived on Broadview Avenue.

Mrs. Hayes has 30 grandchildren, and the last gift she gave each one was in 2007 when they all received a small statue of her favorite saint, St. Francis of Assisi.

There are now 90 descendants of Isabel Hayes. All eight children are still living and in good health and married, most over 40 years and some over 50. As well as the 30 grandchildren, her dynasty includes 50 great great grandchildren and two great great great grandchildren.

When asked for the secret of her long life, Mrs. Hayes said that it is her faith and daily prayers that sustain her.

Was this article informative? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!


This is my Grandmother.

My thoughts and prays are with my Grandmother.
I have so many memories of my Grandma that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Grandma and my daughter Sarah (Sarah is named after my Grandma’s sister)
Have always had a very close relationship, something that was so spacial that words can’t even express. I have a very hard time expressing how I feel, Sarah, Gary and I would like to say that we hold her close to our hearts and she will always be there in our hearts forever. Sarah will always hold everything that you and her had together so close and dear to her heart. Sarah has ofter talked about all the spacial times, and all the talks that you and her had together. Those talks we between you and her and they will always stay close in her heart. Grandma Sarah still has all the little jewelry you gave her and will pass them on.

All I can say at this point is God be with her at this time.
All my thoughts and prays are with her right now.
I also want to send my prays out to my mother and her brothers and sisters.
God bless you all.

Love you Grandma
God Bless you always and forever.
God watch over our Grandmother.

Take care of her.

My grandmother, Isabel Hayes, died yesterday. I say grandmother, but she was affectionately know as Nan in our family. I’m sitting here with no heartache but with a smile remembering the humor she brought to our lives. Humor that will forever make myself and my siblings laugh no matter how often the story gets told. She not only brought humor, but strength and security as well. And it is because of this that she will never be forgotten.

Sleep well Nan. Love always,

Tom, Michele, Keith, Monique and Rejean.

Hello. I’m a reporter at the Toronto Star. I’d like to do a writeup about Isabel Hayes, who I understand, has now passed away. Could you please call me at 416-869-4246?

Click here for our commenting guidelines.

Leave a Reply