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Public Health in Simcoe County

​​​​​​​​​Blog originally posted April 2, 2020

World Health Day is commemorated each year on April 7th and is aimed at creating awareness of one of the World Health Organization's priority areas of concern.  The theme for 2020 is celebrating the work of nurses and midwives and the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy. [1]

In commemoration of both World Health Day and Archives Awareness Week in Ontario, the Simcoe County Archives salutes the remarkable work of nurses and midwives, other front-line medical personnel, and public health organizations. 

Thank You!

Nurses graduation class, ca. 1915
962-1088     Nurses graduation class, ca. 1915

Did you know that there were Schools of Nursing attached to several hospitals in Simcoe County?

The first was established in 1897 at Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital, but there were also schools at the hospitals in Collingwood (1897), Orillia (1910) and Penetanguishene (1912).

Collingwood General and Marine Hospital nursing student residence, ca. 1943.
2019-135     Collingwood General and Marine Hospital nursing student residence, ca. 1943.

Did you know that two world-famous medical doctors were born in Simcoe County?

Sir William Osler, the first professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, was born in Bond Head in 1849.  Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, was born in Alliston in 1891.

2001-50 Frederick Banting in the Pharmacology Lab, Frederick Banting Family Photograph Album 1
2001-50 Frederick Banting in the Pharmacology Lab, Frederick Banting Family Photograph Album 1

Did you know that until the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit was established there were Boards of Health operating in many of the county's townships, towns and villages? 

The Simcoe County Archives holds records that were created by Boards of Health located in:

  • Adjala Township
  • Barrie
  • Beeton
  • Creemore
  • Essa Township
  • Mara Township
  • Medonte Township
  • Nottawasaga Township
  • Orillia Township
  • Penetanguishene
  • Rama Township
  • Simcoe County
  • Sunnidale Township
  • Tiny Township
  • Vespra Township

Did you know that before the Internet and Social Media were invented, public health departments and organizations shared information through printed posters and manuals?

The Simcoe County Archives has a copy of the sixth edition of the Manual for Sanitary Inspectors, published by the Canadian Public Health Association in November 1941.  It includes information re. Communicable Diseases, and defined the term “isolation."

Definitions of Common Terms in Communicable Disease Control. Isolation. Page 104, Manual for Sanitary Inspectors. ​977-43     Manual f​or Sanitary Inspectors​ Pg.104, 1941

In other words:  stay home if you are sick!

Did you know that you are making history?

Years from now, people will be talking about how Canadians reacted to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  In the meantime, remember what Canadians talked about ca. 1939-1945, and do your part to flatten the curve.​​

Your Health is Canada's Strength, ca. 1940's
980-49     Your Health is Canada's Strength, ca. 1940's


[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-health-day/world-health-day-2020