July 21, 1920

(Windsor, Ontario)


September 15, 1998


MD, University of Western Ontario (1944)

Awards & Honours:

1998: Companion of the Order of Canada

1987: Honorary DSc, University of Western Ontario

See All Awards
Picture of Charles Drake, MD

Advanced our understanding and treatment of brain aneurysms

Dr. Charles Drake

A renowned neurosurgeon

A remarkable example of perseverance and determination, Dr. Charles Drake was a true visionary in medicine. Over his long career, he perfected, documented and taught surgical techniques on the repair of ruptured brain aneurysms for which he gained world-wide fame. His reputation attracted both patients and students from across the world, making Southwestern Ontario an ever-evolving centre for medical excellence and international firsts.

While recognized for his skill, determination and courage in the operating room, Drake was also known for his humility, and his caring, compassionate nature; he did not seek fame or public accolades for his work. He attributed his determination and work ethic to his sense of commitment to his patients.

Key Facts

London, Ontario’s first neurosurgeon

Took on many national and international leadership roles, influencing a number of organizations in his field

His research led to the surgical procedure known as the “Drake tourniquet”

Honoured with the creation of the Siebens-Drake Research Institute

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Charles Drake is revered as a legend in neuroscience, and his impact on generations of neurosurgeons is immeasurable. He has also impacted the lives of thousands of patients through his pioneering and innovative approach to neurosurgery. Dr. Drake’s legacy continues to inspire neurosurgeons to find the answer to the problems that seem impossible. Today, the John P. Robarts Research Institute at Western works with more than 600 people to investigate innovative treatments to devastating diseases.

Picture of Charles Drake, MD


  • Dr. Charles Drake

    Charles Drake inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Dr. Drake was also instrumental in the founding of the John P. Robarts Research Institute

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    The Institute remains on the cutting-edge of medical research to this day.

  • As a professor at Western University, Drake was influential in establishing the University Hospital.

    Known today as University Campus of the London Health Sciences Centre, the Hospital is part of a network of nearly 15,000 physicians, residents and staff.

  • Dr. Drake named President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

    This position was the beginning of almost two decades in senior leadership roles that included Presidencies of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the World Federation of Neurological Societies.

  • Dr. Charles Drake became the first chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the University of Western Ontario

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    Along with Henry Barnett, Drake grew a dynamic and innovative community of neuroscientists and clinicians from a variety of disciplines.

  • Dr. Drake published the first results of his successful treatment of basilar aneurysms

    Brain & Mind

    He continued to explore treatment options for more difficult cases including instances of cardiac arrest and hypothermia.

  • The Drake Clip

    Charles Drake perfected a surgical treatment for basilar aneurysms

    Brain & Mind

    By entering in front of and above the ear, his method allowed surgical access to aneurysms at the base of the brain stem. This pioneering work saved countless patients from possible death, stroke and permanent brain damage.

  • Dr. Drake returned to London, Ontario as Chief of Neurosurgery at Victoria Hospital.

    In London, he pursued his interest in the surgical treatment of brain aneurysms, a feat many health professionals thought to be impossible.

  • After earning his medical degree from Western University, Drake completed his internship at the Toronto General Hospital.

    He then spent the next several years developing his capacities in neuroscience and neurosurgery.


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