Famous Canadian Physicians

Find out more about the greatest Canadian Physicians, including Frederick Banting, Carolyn Bennett, Charles Tupper, Norman Bethune and Oswald Avery.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Frederick Banting

Frederick Banting
Famous As: Discoverer of Insulin
Birthdate: November 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Died: February 21, 1941

Frederick Banting was a Canadian medical scientist and physician. In 1923, Banting and Scottish biochemist John James Rickard Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of insulin and its therapeutic potential. Aged 32 at that time, Banting remains the youngest Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine. He was knighted by King George V in 1934.

 2 Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer
Famous As: Columnist
Birthdate: March 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: June 21, 2018

Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning column in The Washington Post, Fox News commentator and political expert Charles Krauthammer was also a qualified psychiatrist. He was rendered paralyzed from the waist down at 22, after an accident while studying medicine at Harvard, but completed his degree nevertheless.

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 3 William Osler

William Osler
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 12, 1849
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bradford West Gwillimbury, Canada
Died: December 29, 1919

Johns Hopkins Hospital co-founder William Osler was also an avid historian. He redefined medical education with his emphasis on clinical experience and his book The Principles and Practice of Medicine. Born to a missionary father in Canada, he was to follow in his father’s footsteps but decided to study medicine instead.

 4 Frances Oldham Kelsey

Frances Oldham Kelsey
Famous As: Pharmacologist
Birthdate: July 24, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cobble Hill, Canada
Died: August 7, 2015

As part of the FDA, Frances Oldham Kelsey prevented thalidomide from being allowed in the US drug market as a painkiller, as she was unsure of its impact. Her concerns were proved right when the drug caused birth defects in European children. She was subsequently awarded by the US president.

 5 Wilder Penfield

Wilder Penfield
Famous As: Surgeon, Neuroscientist, Neurosurgeon, University teacher, Neurologist
Birthdate: January 26, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Spokane
Died: April 5, 1976

Neuroscientist Wilder Penfield redefined medical science with his innovative way of treating epilepsy patients through surgery. He would note down his patients’ responses when they would be conscious under local anesthesia. He also founded the Montreal Neurological Institute, but was unable to cure his sister’s brain cancer.

 6 Norman Bethune

Norman Bethune
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 4, 1890
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gravenhurst, Canada
Died: November 12, 1939

Canadian thoracic surgeon Norman Bethune served as an army physician for the Canadian Army during World War I. He revolutionized medical science by introducing the concept of mobile blood-transfusion. A Communist Party of Canada member, he later served the Chinese army against Japan, becoming a revered name in China.

 7 John McCrae

John McCrae
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 30, 1872
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Died: January 28, 1918

Best known for his iconic war poems such as In Flanders Fields, Canadian poet John McCrae was also an army physician. He was the first Canadian to serve as a consulting surgeon for the British Army and had earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Army.

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 8 Roberta Bondar

Roberta Bondar
Famous As: Astronaut & Neurologist
Birthdate: December 4, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

Canadian neurologist, educator, scientist, astronaut and photographer Roberta Bondar CC OOnt FRCPC FRSC is noted as the first female astronaut and the first neurologist of Canada to travel into space. She flew as part of the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-42 and performed over forty experiments in Spacelab. She later served as head of an international team of researchers at NASA.

 9 Margaret Chan

Margaret Chan
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: August 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hong Kong, China

Former WHO director-general and one of Forbes’s most powerful women, Margaret Chan was both applauded and criticized for her decision to cull Hong Kong’s entire poultry stock in 3 days to control the H5N1 virus in 1997. She was also in charge during the 2003 SARS outbreak in the city.

 10 Rudolf Vrba

Rudolf Vrba
Famous As: Pharmacologist, Physician, University teacher
Birthdate: September 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Topoľčany
Died: March 27, 2006

 11 Ian Stevenson

Ian Stevenson
Famous As: Psychiatrist, Parapsychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 31, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal
Died: February 8, 2007

Canadian-American psychiatrist and University of Virginia School of Medicine professor Ian Stevenson believed he had developed his love for the paranormal from his mother, who maintained a well-stocked library on theosophy. His studies included unearthing children’s past life memories. He also penned books such as Reincarnation and Biology.

 12 Oswald Avery

Oswald Avery
Famous As: Biologist, Physician, Geneticist
Birthdate: October 21, 1877
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Halifax
Died: February 20, 1955

A pioneer of molecular biology, Oswald Avery revolutionized science with his research on the chemical processes involved in immunology. The Canadian-American bacteriologist initially aspired to be a musician. He later proved that DNA was the basis of heredity. Though nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times, he never won it.

 13 Carolyn Bennett

Carolyn Bennett
Famous As: Politician, Physician
Birthdate: December 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toronto

The current Canadian Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett is also a qualified physician and has been a public health minister earlier. The Liberal Party of Canada member has also taught medicine at the University of Toronto and been part of several medical boards.

 14 Ralph M. Steinman

Ralph M. Steinman
Famous As: Canadian physician
Birthdate: January 14, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montreal
Died: September 30, 2011

Canadian cell biologist and immunologist Ralph M. Steinman is best remembered for his association with the Rockefeller University and for his co-discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in strengthening the immune system. Unfortunately, he died of pancreatic cancer shortly before the announcement of his Nobel Prize win.

 15 Henry Morgentaler

Henry Morgentaler
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 19, 1923
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Łódź
Died: May 29, 2013

Jewish Polish-born-Canadian physician and activist Henekh Morgentaler, CM, is noted for his abortion rights advocacy and commitment to enhance healthcare for women. He is counted among the first Canadian doctors who carried out vasectomies for inserting intrauterine devices to prevent pregnancies and provided birth-control pills to unmarried women. He became the first doctor in North America who used vacuum aspiration.

 16 John Hamm

John Hamm
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Canadian physician and politician John Frederick Hamm, OC, served as the 25th Premier of Nova Scotia from August 16, 1999 to February 24, 2006. He remained MLA for Pictou Centre from May 25, 1993 to June 13, 2006. He negotiated with the federal government for implementing the Atlantic Accord leading to a payment of $830 million by federal government in 2005.

 17 Robert Thirsk

Robert Thirsk
Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: August 17, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Westminster, Canada

Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk made history when he became the first person to receive a degree from space when he was awarded an honorary degree while on a space mission. He also boasts of an MIT Sloan MBA. A mechanical engineer, he had initially also studied medicine.

 18 Emily Stowe

Emily Stowe
Famous As: Teacher, Physician
Birthdate: May 1, 1831
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Norwich
Died: April 29, 1903

Emily Stowe created history by becoming the first female doctor to practice in Canada and the second to receive a physician’s license in the country. A champion of women’s education, she was also a prominent suffragist and assisted in building the first women’s medical school in Canada.

 19 Charles Best

Charles Best
Famous As: Co-discoverer of Insulin
Birthdate: February 27, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: West Pembroke, Pembroke, Maine, United States
Died: March 31, 1978

Charles Best made history with his discovery of insulin, along with Sir Frederick Banting, thus paving the path for its use as a treatment for diabetes. He, however, failed to get the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, like Banting, as he didn’t receive his medical degree till 1925.

 20 Wilfred Grenfell

Wilfred Grenfell
Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: February 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parkgate, England
Died: October 9, 1940

English medical missionary to Newfoundland Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell KCMG, is noted for his years of service to the people of the colony. His relentless efforts in such pursuit led him to form the philanthropic organization Grenfell Mission and the International Grenfell Association to provide different services, including medical, social, educational, religious, and rehabilitation to the people there.

 21 Samantha Nutt

Samantha Nutt
Famous As: physician
Birthdate: September 30, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Scarborough

Apart from founding the humanitarian organization War Child Canada, Canadian physician Samantha Nutt has worked with children in war-torn areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, and Somalia. She has also penned the bestseller Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid and is a regular on news shows.

 22 Anderson Ruffin Abbott

Anderson Ruffin Abbott
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 7, 1837
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: December 29, 1913

Anderson Ruffin Abbott was the first Canadian-born Black doctor. He had been a surgeon for the Union Army and was also in charge of treating President Abraham Lincoln in his final moments. He had also headed the Provident Hospital, which was the first American training hospital for Black nurses.

 23 Charles Brenton Huggins

Charles Brenton Huggins
Famous As: Physician & Surgeon
Birthdate: September 22, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Died: January 12, 1997

Canadian-American surgeon and urologist Charles Brenton Huggins is remembered for his pathbreaking research on how some hormones are related to cancer, which eventually won him the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. His studies paved the way for the cure of cancer, specifically prostate cancer and breast cancer.

 24 Andrew Schally

Andrew Schally
Famous As: Endocrinologist
Birthdate: November 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wilno, Poland

Andrew Schally escaped Poland and went to Romania and the UK with his family following the Nazi invasion, eventually settling in Canada. He grew up to be a renowned endocrinologist and won the Nobel Prize for his research on the hypothalamus and how it controls the hormones in the body.

 25 John Rolph

John Rolph
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 4, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Thornbury
Died: October 19, 1870

 26 Camille Laurin

Camille Laurin
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: May 6, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charlemagne, Canada
Died: March 11, 1999

 27 William Henry Drummond

William Henry Drummond
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 13, 1854
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mohill, Ireland
Died: April 6, 1907

William Henry Drummond was a Canadian poet whose works established him as one of the most famous writers in the West. He is also counted among the most loved and widely-read Canadian poets. The Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest, which was established in 1970, is conducted in his honor.

 28 J. Donald M. Gass

J. Donald M. Gass
Famous As: American ophthalmologist
Birthdate: August 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died: February 26, 2005

 29 Hugh Chamberlen

Hugh Chamberlen
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: 1632 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1720 AD

 30 Arthur Vineberg

Arthur Vineberg
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: May 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: March 26, 1988

 31 Philippe Panneton

Philippe Panneton
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 30, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trois-Rivières, Canada
Died: December 28, 1960

Philippe Panneton was a Canadian physician, academic, writer, and diplomat. He earned a degree in medicine from Université Laval and began his medical practice. He later became a professor at the Université de Montréal and co-founded L'Académie Canadienne-française, serving as its president from 1947 until 1953.  He was awarded the Lorne Pierce Medal in 1959. 

 32 Alexander Shulman

Alexander Shulman
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: June 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canada
Died: July 7, 1996

 33 Cecil George Sheps

Cecil George Sheps
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 24, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Died: February 8, 2004

 34 Jim Henderson

Jim Henderson
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greater Sudbury, Canada
Died: May 2, 2020

 35 David Sackett

David Sackett
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 17, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 13, 2015

 36 Armand Frappier

Armand Frappier
Famous As: Physician, Microbiologist
Birthdate: November 26, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada
Died: December 17, 1991

 37 Irma Le Vasseur

Irma Le Vasseur
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: January 20, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint-Roch, Quebec City, Canada
Died: January 18, 1964

 38 Tak Wah Mak

Tak Wah Mak
Famous As: Oncologist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: China