Faculty of Medicine Celebrates Canada 150

Did you know that the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine was founded before Canada became an independent country?

First established in 1843, U of T’s Faculty of Medicine is among the list of Canada’s oldest medical schools. Since its founding, the Faculty has been home to many groundbreaking discoveries.

One particularly notable discovery was the development of a successful insulin treatment for diabetes. This discovery, made by Frederick Banting and Charles Best in 1921, is considered to be one of U of T’s most important medical achievements. Previously, a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis often resulted in death; today, insulin saves and extends countless lives worldwide. These researchers’ legacy lives on in U of T’s Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, Canada’s primary centre for advancing diabetes research, education, and care.

Other historical medical breakthroughs from U of T include blood transfusion and exchange procedures by Lawrence Bruce Robertson (1900-1923), the discovery of stem cells by Ernest McCulloch and James Till (1922), and the world’s first successful single and double-lung transplants by Dr. Joel Cooper (1983, 1986).

Over the years, U of T graduates have gone on to take part in pioneering work to improve the lives of people worldwide. Prominent members of the U of T community include Jennie Smillie Robertson (M.B. 1909), who was the first female surgeon in Canada, and Wilfred Gordon Bigelow (M.D. 1938), who developed the artificial pacemaker. In recent years, Marc Jeschke, a professor in the Department of Surgery, has been working with a team of U of T students and researchers on a 3-D printer that produces new skin for burn victims— such a technology would revolutionize burn treatment.

The Faculty of Medicine is proud to be at the forefront of medical education and innovation, both in Canada and around the world. As we celebrate Canada 150 this year, we are pleased to recognize our accomplishments and look forward to 150 more years of improving healthcare and treatment for all Canadians.

Happy Canada Day!