Building our health organizations and systems The Early Days - Health Care Pioneers

All of our Laureates are people who saw potential even where others did not; they are innovators willing to try new things. Some of these Laureates did so long ago, pushing boundaries despite great challenges to create landscapes for learning and improvement to health and health care in ways we take for granted today.

Textbook of medicine Doctor taking blood pressure

Early Days - Health Care Pioneers

  1. 1738

    Following the death of her husband, d’Youville committed her life to service

  2. 1747

    D’Youville was named temporary directress of Montreal’s General Hospital

  3. 1800

  4. 1864

    Concerned with the social influences on health, Sir Tupper became a fierce advocate of free primary school education throughout Nova Scotia.

  5. 1867

    Upon her return from the United States, Dr. Stowe opened her practice on Richmond Street in Toronto

  6. 1876

    Dr. Stowe founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club, later renamed the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association.

  7. 1883

    Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen, the daughter of Dr. Stowe, became the first woman to receive a Canadian medical degree when she graduated from Women’s Medical College.

  8. 1885

    Leonora King established the Government Hospital for Women and Children

  9. 1896

    In 1896, Sir Charles Tupper was appointed Prime Minister of Canada and remains the only physician to have served in that role.

  10. 1900

  11. 1901

    First presented the Canada Medical Act (“Roddick Bill”) before the House of Commons

  12. 1910

  13. 1911

    Maud Menten graduated from the University of Toronto and was among one of Canada’s first women to earn a medical degree

  14. Years Later

    To facilitate industrial development, Dr. Grenfell established numerous co-operative stores and created a commerce for local handicraft

  15. 1920

  16. 1923

    Despite her groundbreaking work in the field, Dr. Menten could not attain a research professorship in Canada

  17. 1930

  18. 1931

    Elizabeth Bagshaw became Director of the Planned Parenthood Society

  19. 1935

    Dr. Bethune left for a medical conference in Russia where he learned more about socialized medical care

  20. 1940

  21. 1945

    Dr. Burton was recruited to the University of Western Ontario

  22. 1950

  23. 1960

  24. 1970

  25. 1975

    May Cohen led a federal government workshop on women’s health care, as part of the Canadian government’s response to International Women’s Year

  26. 1976 - 1979

    Becomes first President of the Native Nurses' Association of Canada

  27. 1978

    Dr. Grenfell’s fortitude, kindness and aptitudes made him a local hero

  28. 1980

  29. 1990

  30. 1991

    May Cohen co-founded the Women's Health Office at McMaster University, the first of its kind in Canada

  31. 1997

    Inaugural May Cohen Lecture in Women’s Health was delivered by the Hon. Monique Begin at McMaster University

  32. 2000

  33. 2010

  34. 2020

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON.