Our History

Early History of Ophthalmology in Toronto

A comprehensive review of the first ophthalmologists in Toronto provides insight into their unquestionable dedication. They are notable not only for their contributions to the advancement of medicine and ophthalmology, but also for significant contributions to science, engineering, education, social justice and welfare, and art.

William Rawlins Beaumont, the first to perform eye surgery in Toronto, was an internationally recognized innovator, constantly looking to improve surgical techniques through the development of new instruments.

Samuel John Stratford founded the first eye hospital in Toronto.

Abner Mulholland Rosebrugh, the first to exclusively practice ophthalmology in Toronto, was a true inventor, pioneering ophthalmoscopy and telephonics. Rosebrugh was also dedicated to social welfare and headed a commission that led to the creation of the Toronto Children's Aid Society.

George Sterling Ryerson, a decorated military man, founded the Ontario St John Ambulance Association and the Canadian Red Cross.

Richard Andrew Reeve, the first Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, was internationally recognized as a founding Canadian ophthalmologist and presided over both British and Canadian Medical Associations.

James Metcalfe MacCallum, the second Chair of the department, was an active member of the Medical Council of Canada and presented the first paper on establishing standard training requirements in medicine. MacCallum also initiated harm reduction concepts in drugs and addiction and was a Patron of the members of the Group of Seven and Thomas John Thomson.

Walter Walker Wright, the fourth Chair of the department, organized the first modern ophthalmology residency training program in Canada. A pioneer in pediatric surgery, Wright developed surgical instruments and procedures still used today.

These physicians all published in local and international medical journals throughout their careers. The dedication of these historic figures to both medicine and society is a source of inspiration for the modern ophthalmologist.

1947 to Present

In this section...

  • Eye Bank of Canada
  • Prasanta Kumar Basu (1922 to present)
  • Anne Marchant Wolfe (1927 to 2015)
  • One Spadina Crescent
  • Ophthalmic Pathology
  • Eye Research Institute of Ontario
  • Ocular Oncology Group
  • Ultrasound Biomicroscopy
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Eye Injury Prevention
  • Women in Ophthalmology
  • Kensington Eye Institute

Hospital History

Past Chairs

Ophthalmology Museum Collection