January 29, 1882

(Barrie, Ontario)


September 25, 1959


MD, University of Toronto (1903)

Awards & Honours:

1952: Honorary DSc, University of Rochester

1949: Honorary LLD, University of Toronto

See All Awards
Picture of William Gallie, MD

Founded Canada’s first formal residency training program in surgery

Portrait of William Gallie

A pioneering orthopedic surgeon

Dr. William E. Gallie was a brilliant and innovative general surgeon with a particular expertise in orthopaedics. He devised numerous new methods in surgery, including the transplantation of bone, the implantation of tendons, and skeletal traction in the treatment of fractures and dislocations of the spine. For many years, Dr. Gallie trained surgical residents in the traditional informal way, before establishing the first formal program of post-graduate surgical training in Canada in the 1930s. He was also instrumental in convincing Sam McLaughlin of General Motors of Canada to endow a foundation to support Canadian surgical trainees studying abroad.

Key Facts

Developed a method of tendon fixation to stabilize paralytic feet

Served as the only surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children from 1914 to 1917

The Gallie Course in Surgery was the first of its kind in Canada and was soon widely adopted

Served as President of the American College of Surgeons for an unprecedented six years

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Today, post-graduate training in general surgery is known as the “Gallie Course,” ensuring that Gallie’s contribution to surgical training will never be forgotten. Gallie, however, is more than remembered. His legacy is felt. A leader in orthopedic surgery, Gallie’s cervical wiring technique for spine surgery remains one of the three most commonly taught wiring techniques in neurosurgical training programs. More broadly, as a visionary for surgical education, Gallie established a rigorous surgical training program that continues to inform Canadian standards of excellence in surgical curriculum today. In addition, the McLaughlin Foundation remains a significant supporter of Canadian surgical development.

Picture of William Gallie, MD


  • William Gallie posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • The R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation was established

    Health and Medical Education & Training

    This foundation supports advanced post-graduate studies for surgeons in Canadian medical schools.

  • William Gallie’s post graduate training course in surgery was established

    Health and Medical Education & Training

    This two-year residency program in surgery exposed students to a year of training in general surgery followed by periods of specialization in urology, neurosurgery or pediatric surgery. It soon spread to all teaching hospitals associated with the University of Toronto.

  • Appointed Surgeon-in-Chief at Toronto General Hospital and Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto

    Excelling in positions of leadership, he became Dean of Medicine in 1936.

  • After the war, William Gallie returned to Canada and became surgeon in Chief at the Hospital for Sick Children

    Skin, Bones, Muscles & Joints

    During this period, he continued his research on the use of tissue in surgical repair.

  • Gallie joined Canada’s war effort

    He served in England at the Canadian Special Treatment Hospital and earned the rank of Major (Act.).

  • Returned to Toronto to join the surgical staff of the Hospital for Sick Children

    He was also appointed junior surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital where he worked until 1910.

  • After entering medical school at the age of 17, Gallie graduated with his MD in 1903

    He then spent a year as an intern at the Hospital for Sick Children and another year at the Toronto General Hospital. He then travelled to New York for further training at its Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled.


He was a world leader in moving surgery and medicine forward.