Mrs. Sara McKinnon was raised in Ontario. Despite her parents being politically conservative, she considered herself United Farmers of Ontario and sympathetic to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. She worked sporadically as a domestic and in hospitals during the Depression. McKinnon came to the remote Stuart Island, B.C. in 1937 to visit her uncle and decided to stay. She married in Vancouver the same year. She worked for a time in the Peter Pan restaurant. Her husband was a fisher and shipwright. They spent a lot of the summer fishing on the coast to earn money. In the 1940’s she began hospital work once her four children started school, first at Vancouver General as a rough dry operator and in the dietary kitchen. After she got a job at St. Paul’s Hospital she became involved with union organizing. She was active on the education committee and elected to the executive as a trustee and warden.