Neurology: History

The First Neurologist

  • Donald Campbell Meyers,Trinity Medical School graduate in 1888, returned after four years in Europe spent in Edinburgh, Paris (Charcot lectures and demonstration, Dejerine), Vienna (Obersteiner, Meynert) and London (Ferrier).
  • Established Dr. Meyers' Neurological Hospital (1898-1920), a private sanatorium largely devoted to neurasthenia and application of the Weir Mitchell Cure.
  • Pursuaded the provincial government in 1905 to establish the "Nervous Wards" at the Toronto General Hospital, which also treated "functional neuroses" in indigent patients.
  • The wards were closed in 1911 as the hospital prepared to move to its present quarters adjacent to the University campus. Meyers published mainly on the value of inpatient units for prevention of progression of the functional neuroses to insanity.

Neurologic Succession at the University of Toronto


1905~1948 Goldwin W. Howland (1875-1950)

  • MD Toronto 1900.
  • Registrar National Hospital Queen Square.
  • Trained in Berlin.
  • Long career of teaching with interests in neuropsychiatry.
  • Canadian "Father of Occupational Therapy," founding the first service and university training program in Canada.
  • ANA Member, presenting the first case of insulinoma diagnosed during life and treated successfully in 1928.

1948~1950 Robert G. Armour (1883-1956)

  • MD Toronto 1908.
  • Trained in Berlin, Heidelberg, London Hospital (Head) and New York Neurological Institute (Joseph Collins).
  • Taught for many years with Howland on the Neurology Ward (Ward G) at the Toronto General Hospital.
  • Special interest in medicolegal neuropsychiatry.
  • Charter member of the Ontario Neuropsychiatric Association, Editor of the Ontario Journal of Neuropsychiatry, both firsts in Canada.

1950~1960 Herbert H. Hyland (1900-1977)

  • MD Toronto 1926.
  • Trained in Toronto, Edinburgh, and Queen Square (Greenfield, Collier).
  • Initial academic work in neuropathology with Linell.
  • In charge of polio care at the Toronto General during the epidemic of 1937, treating 66 paralytic cases.
  • Head of the Psychiatric Unit at Wellesley Hospital.
  • Best known publications: Pathology of cerebral aneurysms (with Richardson), Treatment of hemiballismus with chlorpromazine, investigations in anorexia nervosa.

1960~1975 J. Clifford Richardson (1909-1986)

  • MD Toronto 1932.
  • Trained in neuropathology in Toronto (Klotx, Linell) and Queen Square (Greenfield).
  • Registrar Queen Square.
  • Appointed to Toronto General Hospital in 1938.
  • Spent four and a half years in Britain, France, and Belgium during WWII, gaining extensive experience in wartime neuroses.
  • Returned to practice and teaching at the Toronto General Hospital.
  • Committed to Holmesian approach to teaching, dedicated neurology service and development of the neurology residency training program.
  • Recognized the unique clinical features and gave the name to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

1975~1989 John R. Wherrett

  • MD Queen's 1955.
  • Trained in Toronto, NINCDS Bethesda (Tower), Institute of Psychiatry, London (MeLlwain) and Institute of Neurology, London (Cumings).
  • Established first neurochemistry laboratory at Toronto General Hospital 1963 to study biochemical genetics of lipid storage diseases.
  • Presided over expansion and subspecialization among the teaching hospitals. Efforts to form a separate Department of Neurology rejected by the Faculty in 1989.

1989~2001 James A. Sharpe (1941-2013)

  • MD Western Ontario 1966.
  • Trained at McGill, Toronto, Miami (Glazer, Daroff), UCSF (Hoyt), and Queen Square.
  • Established preeminent clinical and laboratory program in neuro-opthalmology at the Toronto Western Hospital with J. L. Silversides.
  • Maintained and expanded neurology during the government inforced retrenchments in hospital and resident resources.
  • Past editor, Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences and Neurophthalmology.

2001~2004 John G. Edmeads (acting) (1936-2006)

  • MD Toronto 1959.
  • Trained in Toronto.
  • Appointed to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in 1967.
  • Noted lecturer and clinical teacher. Physician-in-Chief, Sunnybrook Medical Centre 1991-2001.
  • Past editor, Headache.

2004~2017 Anthony E. Lang

  • MD Toronto 1975.
  • Trained in Toronto and Kings College, London (Marsden).
  • Developed renowned Movement Disorders Program.
  • Past editor, Movement Disorders.

2017-2020 Xavier Montalban

  • MD Barcelona, Spain 1983.
  • Trained in Barcelona, Spain (Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and London, United Kingdom (St. Thomas’ Hospital)
  • Created and directed The Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (Cemcat) in 2007.
  • Currently leading the change of the MS clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital towards the creation of the leading BARLO MS Centre, which will occupy the top two floors of the 17-story Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower. The BARLO MS Centre is expected to open in 2021.
  • Past President, ECTRIMS.

2020-present David F. Tang-Wai (acting)

  • MD from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec 1996.
  • Adult neurology residency and behavioural neurology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and Jacksonville FL.
  • Co-Director of the University Health Network Memory Clinic and a Clinical Investigator at the Krembil Brain Institute.
  • Adult Neurology Residency Program for the University of Toronto 2013-2018.
  • Developed Dementia Bootcamp 2016.
  • Toronto Dementia Research Alliance 2016.
  • AB Baker Teacher Recognition Award (2018), University of Toronto Dept of Medicine Master Clinician (2019), Dept of Medicine Teacher of the Year (2020)



1921~1949 George Boyer (1885-1966)

  • MD Toronto 1907.
  • Trained in Toronto, Cleveland Lakeside Hospital, and London (UK).
  • Initially appointed to the Toronto General Hospital.
  • Established the Neurologic Clinic and "observation class" at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1912 and the Epileptic "Subdivision" in 1932.
  • Conducted studies of electroencephalography and Dilantin therapy.

1949~1952 W. Wray Barraclough (1892-1962)

  • MD Toronto 1916.
  • Trained in Toronto, Johns Hopkins, Queen Square, and London Hospital.
  • Consultant to Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Veteran's Hospital.

1952~1962 William A. Hawke (1930-2000)

  • MD Toronto 1930.
  • Trained in Toronto, Queen Square (Holmes, Greenfield), and Bradley Horne, Providence (Herbert Jasper).
  • Covered both neurology and psychiatry, eventually establishing the Department of Psychiatry at the Hospital.

1957~1978 John Stobo Prichard (1914-1986)

  • MD Cambridge 1938.
  • Trained in neurology at Queen Square, Hammersmith Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Recruited to Hospital for Sick Children to run EEG department.
  • Established training in pediatric neurology in Canada, later collaborating with Richardson to develop the formal training programs in pediatric and adult neurology.

1978~1994 William J. Logan

  • MD Chicago 1970.
  • Trained in neurology at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and NIH.
  • Established laboratory for neurotransmitter neurochemistry at University of Virginia, then recruited to Hospital for Sick Children.

1994~1997 Daune L. MacGregor

  • MD Saskatchewan 1971.
  • Trained in Toronto, Great Ormond Street, and Boston Children's.
  • Appointed to Hospital for Sick Children 1978. Associate Pediatrician-in-Chief.

1997~ O. Carter Snead III

  • MD West Virginia 1970.
  • Trained in child neurology at Yale.
  • Appointments at University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Southern California.
  • Appointed Bloorview Children's Hospital professor and head in 1977.
  • Director of the Epilepsy program.

Noted Pioneers, Faculty and Graduates, Past and Present

Oleh Hornykiewiez - Discoverer of dopamine deficiency in Parkinson's disease and therapeutic effect of IV L-dopa

  • MD Vienna 1951.
  • Landmark studies with H. Ehringer and W. Birkmayer published in 1960 and 1961.
  • Recruited to Departments of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at University of Toronto in 1967, where he established the first Canadian brain bank at the Clarke Institute and expanded studies of amines in postmortem human brain.
  • In 1976 he returned to Vienna to head the Institute of Biochemical Pharmacology while retaining his appointment in Toronto, now as a professor emeritus.

John Lloyd Silversides - First full time neurologist at the Toronto Western Hospital

•    MD Manitoba 1952.
•    Admitted to University of Manitoba at the precocious age of 15 as a chemistry student. 
•    He was responsible for building the Division of Neurology.
•    Head of the Division of Neurology, Toronto Western Hospital.
•    Physician-in-Chief at the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Society, Medical Director of Hillcrest Hospital, Toronto and President of the Canadian Neurological Society.
•    Associates from the Division at the University of Toronto established an annual JL Silversides lecture to honor him. 
•    Avid collector of unique treasury of pioneering farm implements, carpentry and household tools. This collection is catalogued by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority as the Silversides Museum in Lanark County, Ontario

Albert J. Aguayo OC, FRS (Canada) - Discoverer of central neural regeneration

  • MD Cordoba (Argentina) 1959.
  • Trained in neurology at Toronto (Richardson, Olzewski), McGill (Baxter), and Newcastle.
  • Recruited to the Montreal General Hospital, later to become Director of the Centre for Research in Neuroscience.
  • Secretary General International Brain Research Organization (2000-2003).
  • Recipient of Gardner International Award in biomedical science, Canada's most prestigious award in biomedical science.

Robert G. Lee - Founding Chairman, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary

  • MD Toronto 1960.
  • Trained in neurology in Toronto and Mayo Clinic.
  • Appointed to Toronto Western Hospital 1968.
  • Recruited to establish Department of Neurosciences at University of Calgary in 1974.
  • Interests in neurophysiology of movement disorders.
  • Member of first Canadian Everest Expedition, 1986.

Thomas J. Murray - Dean, Dalhousie University

  • MD Dalhousie 1963.
  • Trained in neurology at Dalhousie and Queen Square.
  • Clinical "polishing" with Richardson in 1969.
  • Went on to direct Division of Neurology and then Deanship in Medicine at Dalhousie.
  • Has served as Director of Multiple Sclerosis Clinic and of the Program in Medical Humanities at Dalhousie since 1997.

Peter St. George-Hyslop FRS - Genetics and Pathophysiology of Alzheimer's Disease

  • MD Ottawa 1976.
  • Trained in neurology in Toronto.
  • Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (Crapper-McLachlan, Guzella).
  • Joined Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases in 1988, became Director in 1994.
  • Identified presenilin mutations as genetic cause of Alzheimer's disease, and has made many other contributions to role of genetics in pathophysiology of dementia.

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