Insulin 100 Symposium

[Photo: Sanofi-Pasteur, UT Library Insulin Digital Collection]

The Toronto Medical Historical Club (TMHC) will mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin with a historical symposium, Banting, Bliss, and Beyond: A Century of Science and Care. The symposium, originally scheduled for November 1, 2021, will be postponed to spring of 2022 because of current COVID-19 restrictions on in-person events.

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Insulin 100 News

Belleville Honours J.B. Collip

Mayor Mitch Panciuk, Richard Hughes, and Ian Sullivan unveil monument in honour of J.B. Collip (Photo: Quinte News)

Club members Alison Li and Christopher Rutty served as keynote speakers at the day-long celebrations marking the unveiling of a new monument in honour of Dr. James Bertram Collip in his hometown of Belleville, Ontario. Collip played a pivotal role in the discovery of insulin in 1921-22, along with co-discoverers Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and J.J.R. Macleod.

Dignitaries including Mayor Mitch Panciuk and other city, provincial, and federal officials, along with descendants of Collip who journeyed from San Antonio, Texas. The “Dr James Bertram Collip Memorial Committee” Rowland Tipper, Richard Hughes, and Ian Sullivan are to be congratulated for their efforts in bringing this effort to fruition.

For news coverage of the event, please see:

Quinte News: “Dr. Collip monument and gardens unveiled”

InQuinte.ca: “City unveils new monument in honour of Dr. James Bertram Collip”

About our members

Aubie Angel – Research Canada, Leadership in Advocacy Award

Aubie Angel - 2021 Research in Canada, Leadership in Advocacy Award [Image: Research Canada]

Warmest congratulations to our member Dr. Aubie Angel on the award of the 2021 Research Canada, Leadership in Advocacy Award! The award recognizes outstanding champions of health research and health innovation. Dr. Angel, C.M., MD, MSc, FRCPC, FCAHS, is the founding and current President of Friends of CIHR (FCIHR), Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba and Senior Fellow at Massey College of the University of Toronto.

“Dr. Angel has made singular and exceptional contributions to Canada as a leading advocate for health research through novel initiatives that have engaged leaders, researchers and trainees.”
– Ms. Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada.

For further information, please visit the Research Canada website.


Clinical Medicine: the Youngest Science

Friends of the CIHR presents a video series in the history of medicine in Canada featuring video clips from the Friesen Lectures and other sources.

This is the first of a four part series featuring excerpts from Dr. David Naylor’s lecture “Emergence of Health Research as a Data Science” from the 2018 Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research. Dr. Naylor is Professor of Medicine and President Emeritus of the University of Toronto, as well as past Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto.


Mercy Mission

Constance Beattie in the summer of 1949, at Fairway Island (known today as Pitsiulartok) in Hudson Bay. [Photo: courtesy of Beattie's nephew Chuck Beattie]

“When polio struck an Inuit community in the late 1940s, it led to a tragedy that shocked the country. A physiotherapist was urgently needed to help treat Inuit polio victims in the Arctic settlement of Chesterfield Inlet on the west coast of Hudson Bay. Constance “Connie” Beattie was the only real choice to answer a distress call issued by the Department of Indian Affairs in late March 1949.”

Club member Christopher Rutty has an article, “Mercy Mission,” originally published in the Feb-March 2018 issue of Canada’s History Magazine about the fascinating story of Constance Beattie’s medical mission to the Arctic.

Insulin 100 News

Walk in the Footsteps of Banting

[Photo: Banting Legacy Foundation]

The Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation invites you to join them at the birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin. “Walk in the Footsteps of Banting” is a Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation celebration event in collaboration with the Banting Research Foundation, Charles H. Best Foundation and Royal Canadian Institute for Science

Friday or Saturday or Sunday, August 20 – 22, 2021
Two ‘repeat’ sessions each day: 10:30 am and 1:30 pm

See new narrated videos; new exhibits in the historic Farmhouse; and new legacy garden permanent monument, a Salute to the Discovery Team

Enjoy the free refreshments and collect your special Discovery of Insulin commemorative memorabilia.

Space is limited.
REGISTER online now at bantinglegacy.ca/discovery-celebration/


Dr. Brenda Milner interview

The Friends of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has published a video celebrating Dr. Brenda Milner’s upcoming 103rd birthday on July 15, 2021. Brenda Milner is a founder of modern Neuropsychology and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University. This is an interview conducted by Michael Bliss, May 13th, 2013. They discuss Dr. Milner’s early interest in science.

For more information about FCIHR, their Video History of Medicine in Canada program, and other programs and projects, please visit their website: http://www.fcihr.ca/

Insulin 100 News

The Discovery of Insulin Special Centenary Edition

The University of Toronto Press announces the publication of a special century edition of Michael Bliss’s The Discovery of Insulin to be published September 1, 2021. With a new preface by Michael Bliss and a foreword by Alison Li, this edition honours the one hundredth anniversary of insulin’s discovery and its continued significance a century later. Pre-order now and save up to 35%.

The Discovery of Insulin Special Centenary Edition

The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–22 was one of the most dramatic events in the history of the treatment of disease. Insulin, discovered by the Canadian research team of Frederick Banting, Charles Best, James Collip, and John Macleod, was a wonder drug with the ability to bring diabetes patients back from the very brink of death. It was no surprise that in 1923 the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded for its discovery.

In this engaging and award-winning account, historian Michael Bliss draws on archival records and personal adventures to recount the fascinating story behind the discovery of insulin – a story as much filled with fiery confrontation and intense competition as medical dedication and scientific genius.


After the Pandemic

Major twentieth-century disease outbreaks in Canada included influenza, smallpox, diphtheria, and polio. [Photographic Illustration by James Gillespie, Canada's History]

Chris Rutty has a new article “After the Pandemic” in Canada’s History about how Canada’s experience of past disease outbreaks may provide clues to the post-pandemic future.