Adrienne Gilbert (left) and Laura Mc Evoy were pleasantly surprised by a delivery of homemade cookies baked by none other than Colin Dugan, VGH maintenance worker.

Maintenance worker by day, baker by night

A fixture at VGH since 1979, Colin Dugan quietly plies his skills as a maintenance worker to keep things operating as they should — and occasionally surprises his customers with cookies.

Yes, you read that right. Cookies.

It appears that we have a maintenance worker in our midst whose heart is as soft as the centre of his chocolate chip mint cookies.

“I have to admit that it didn’t quite compute for me at first,” says Laura Mc Evoy, administrative assistant in Vancouver Acute’s administration offices. “I know Colin as the maintenance worker we can rely on to fix just about anything – but a baker?”

Colin’s specialty is chocolate chip mint cookies.

And, so, Laura and fellow assistant Adrienne Gilbert teased Colin on one of his recent calls, insisting they needed a taste test. To their surprise, he returned within the week with dozens of chocolate chip mint cookies, the product of a recipe he’s been refining for 15 years.

Colin, who spends his days unplugging toilets, changing light bulbs and generally “fixing this and that,” says he enjoys baking for others. He even baked 1,500 cookies for his own wedding.

“I don’t bake for myself,” he says. “I bake for others. I like that other people enjoy them.”

Colin, who began working at VGH in Housekeeping, says his life’s work at VGH was his destiny. “VGH is like my family business,” he explains. Both his parents, his sister and one set of grandparents worked at VGH or in health care nearby.  Colin’s wife, Darlene Dugan, is a portfolio clerk for the Medical Device Reprocessing Department.

Colin’s family clockwise from top left: Joyce Dugan (mother); William Dugan (father); Catherine Mickelson (grandmother); and Ted Wise, Head Chef at Shaughnessy Hospital (grandfather).

With 38 years on the job, Colin has no interest in retiring just yet. And that comes as a relief to his regular customers.

“Colin is a delight; working with him is a great way to start the day,” says Adrienne. “We’re fortunate to have such amazing people in our maintenance team working behind the scenes. They do critical work and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do if we didn’t have them.”

Laura agrees: “Knowing we have competent, helpful and extremely lovely lads to call on to help us is very comforting.”

And, if they deliver tasty treats, that’s an added bonus!


  1. Darlene Dugan says:

    Hello I am Colin’s Wife Darlene Dugan and he is every bit as kind outside of work as well .
    I am a very lucky lady to have Colin as my Husband .

  2. Catherine Millard Saadi says:

    Colin is a wonderful guy and if I every say in the halls, I always tried to stop and say hello. Darlene is also a great woman. Since I’m about to retire (June 30) they will both part of my good memories at the hospital I’m so glad you did this story on him! He is very humble and kind.

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