Gardner was born as Dorothy Georgina Chandler in Bristol, England, on 29 January 1911, as one of three daughters. Her father died of an asthma attack in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War I. She survived appendicitis and the subsequent surgery aged 14, and at 17 or 18, she started working in a toy factory.
Gardner’s husband, Eric, was her boss’ brother. They married and had two daughters, Barbara and Ann. She remembered the air raids of World War II.
The family emigrated to Canada in the 1950s, eventually settling in Bradford, Ontario. Gardner worked at a vegetable processing plant in Brantford, Ontario for twenty years before she and her husband moved to Brampton, Ontario in the 1970s.
Gardner never learned to drive, opting to walk everywhere instead. She was a lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan since their inception. She would travel to Toronto every year to watch them play. On her 100th and 105th birthdays, her barber of more than 30 years gave her a free haircut. As a centenarian, she continued to do household chores independently at her Brampton senior living facility.
Gardner lived independently until 2019, when she moved to Barrie, Ontario. She died on 21 December 2021 at the age of 110 years, 326 days, and was survived by her two daughters, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Gardner’s age was validated by the ESO on 27 August 2023.
A walk or two a day keeps 104-year-old Gardner’s aches at bay Brampton Guardian, 30 January 2015
At 105, Brampton’s Dorothy Gardner is the fairest of them all with spiffy new do Brampton Guardian, 1 February 2016