Famous Canadian Physicians

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Find out more about the greatest Canadian Physicians, including Frederick Banting, Carolyn Bennett, Charles Tupper, Norman Bethune and Oswald Avery.
Vote for Your Favourite Canadian Physicians
 1 
Frederick Banting
(Co-Discoverer of Insulin)
Frederick Banting
4
Birthdate: November 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Alliston, New Tecumseth, 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 
William Osler
(Canadian Physician and Co-Founder of ‘Johns Hopkins Hospital’)
William Osler
5
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.

 3 
Wilder Penfield
(Surgeon, Neuroscientist, Neurosurgeon, University teacher, Neurologist)
Wilder Penfield
4
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.

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 4 
Norman Bethune
(Physician)
Norman Bethune
3
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.

 5 
John McCrae
(Poet and Soldier Best Known as the Author of War Memorial Poem 'In Flanders Fields')
John McCrae
4
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.

 6 
Roberta Bondar
(Astronaut & Neurologist)
Roberta Bondar
3
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.

 7 
Rudolf Vrba
(Former biochemist became known for having escaped from the camp in April 1944, at the height of the Holocaust)
Rudolf Vrba
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Topoľčany, Slovakia
Died: March 27, 2006
 8 
Gabor Maté
(Physician, Writer)
Gabor Maté
0
Birthdate: January 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
 9 
Hans Selye
(Hungarian-Canadian Endocrinologist Known for His Studies of the Effects of Stress on the Human Body)
Hans Selye
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 16, 1982
Born to a doctor father, Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye grew up to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 17 times but never won it. He is remembered for his ground-breaking work the medical impact of stress on the human body, also known as stress response.
 10 
Oswald Avery
(Biologist, Physician, Geneticist)
Oswald Avery
3
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.

 11 
Theresa Tam
(3rd Chief Public Health Officer of Canada)
Theresa Tam
1
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Hong Kong
 12 
Ian Stevenson
(Psychiatrist, Parapsychologist, University teacher)
Ian Stevenson
3
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.

 13 
Carolyn Bennett
(Politician, Physician)
Carolyn Bennett
3
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 
Suzanne Mallouk
(Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst and Painter)
Suzanne Mallouk
0
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Orangeville, Ontario, Canada

Suzanne Mallouk ran away from her Canada home and moved to New York, where she took up odd jobs to finance her art career. She supported a penniless Jean-Michel Basquiat grow into a wealthy artist and became a muse for his paintings. She later became a practicing psychiatrist.

 15 
Ralph M. Steinman
(Canadian physician)
Ralph M. Steinman
2
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.

 16 
Henry Morgentaler
4
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.

 17 
Margaret Chan
(Former Director-General of the World Health Organization (2006 - 2017))
Margaret Chan
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hong Kong

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.

 18 
Emily Stowe
(First female physician to practise in Canada, the second licensed female physician in Canada)
Emily Stowe
2
Birthdate: May 1, 1831
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Norwich, Canada
Died: April 30, 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
(Co-discoverer of Insulin)
Charles Best
2
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 
Robert Thirsk
(Canadian Engineer, Physician and a Former Canadian Space Agency Astronaut)
Robert Thirsk
2
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.

 21 
John Hamm
(Politician)
John Hamm
2
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.

 22 
Hedy Fry
(politician and physician who is currently the longest-serving female Member of Parliament)
Hedy Fry
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago
 23 
Eric Hoskins
(Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care from 2014 to 2018)
Eric Hoskins
2
Birthdate: November 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Simcoe, Canada
 24 
Maud Menten
(Canadian Physician and Chemist Best Known for Her Work on 'Enzyme Kinetics')
Maud Menten
2
Birthdate: March 20, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port Lambton, Canada
Died: July 17, 1960

Maud Menten was a Canadian bio-medical and medical researcher. She made several important contributions to enzyme kinetics and histochemistry. She studied medicine at the University of Toronto, becoming among the first women in Canada to earn a medical doctorate. She collaborated with Leonor Michaelis to come up with the Michaelis-Menten equation model.

 25 
Samantha Nutt
(physician)
Samantha Nutt
2
Birthdate: 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.

 26 
Anderson Ruffin Abbott
2
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.

 27 
Charles Brenton Huggins
(Canadian-American Physician Who Discovered that Hormones Could be Used to Control the Spread of Some Cancers)
Charles Brenton Huggins
2
Birthdate: September 22, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada
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.

 28 
Tak Wah Mak
(Oncologist, University teacher)
Tak Wah Mak
0
Birthdate: October 4, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: China
 29 
David Sackett
(Physician)
David Sackett
0
Birthdate: November 17, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 13, 2015
 30 
John Rolph
(Physician)
John Rolph
1
Birthdate: March 4, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Thornbury
Died: October 19, 1870
 31 
Camille Laurin
(Psychiatrist)
Camille Laurin
1
Birthdate: May 6, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charlemagne, Canada
Died: March 11, 1999
 32 
George Astaphan
(Former physician who became infamous for giving steroids to the sprinter Ben Johnson)
George Astaphan
0
Birthdate: May 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Kitts, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: August 18, 2006
 33 
Armand Frappier
(Physician, Microbiologist)
Armand Frappier
0
Birthdate: November 26, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada
Died: December 17, 1991
 34 
Irma Le Vasseur
(Physician)
Irma Le Vasseur
0
Birthdate: January 20, 1877
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint-Roch, Quebec City, Canada
Died: January 18, 1964
 35 
J. Donald M. Gass
(American ophthalmologist)
J. Donald M. Gass
0
Birthdate: August 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died: February 26, 2005
 36 
Hugh Chamberlen
(Physician)
Hugh Chamberlen
0
Birthdate: 1632 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 1720 AD
 37 
Arthur Vineberg
0
Birthdate: May 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: March 26, 1988
 38 
Nérée Beauchemin
(Canadian Poet and Physician)
Nérée Beauchemin
0
Birthdate: February 20, 1850
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yamachiche, Canada
Died: June 29, 1931

French-Canadian poet Nérée Beauchemin was a major figure of the Le Terroir, or The Soil, school of poetry. Additionally, he was also a physician. His works mostly featured the Canadian landscape and the rural life of Quebec and its nearby regions, though he only released two poetry volumes throughout his career.

 39 
Jim Henderson
(Politician)
Jim Henderson
0
Birthdate: August 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greater Sudbury, Canada
Died: May 2, 2020
 40 
Alexander Shulman
(Surgeon)
Alexander Shulman
0
Birthdate: June 22, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canada
Died: July 7, 1996
 41 
Cecil George Sheps
(Physician)
Cecil George Sheps
0
Birthdate: July 24, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Died: February 8, 2004