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 Sir William J. Gage (1848 - 1921)

In 1895, Mr. (later Sir) William Gage took a step that was to have a profound effect on the care of tuberculous patients in Canada. Mr. Gage was born near Brampton, Ontario, in 1849. He graduated from Normal School and taught for three years, then in 1870 entered Medical School. Circumstances, however, compelled him to leave after one year, a fact which he always regretted. Instead he embarked on a most successful business career, and the publishing company which had originally employed him as a bookkeeper became, in due course, incorporated as ’W.J. Gage and Company Limited’. For more than three decades he was not only one of the greatest philanthropists Canada has ever known, but also a dominant figure in Ontario life. It is not known exactly why he directed his energies and resources into a campaign against tuberculosis. We know that in his early days he knew a blacksmith who was the sole survivor of a family of fourteen all of whom had died of tuberculosis. And when the son of his friend Mr. Hart A. Massey developed tuberculosis, it was realized that there was no institution anywhere in Canada where the boy might receive treatment.

-- taken from Godfrey Gale in The Changing Years, 1979

- Archibald
- Dalton
- Cook
- Fagan
- Ferguson
- Frappier
- Gage
- Grzybowski
- Jeanes
- O'Brien
- Porter
- Stewart
- Wherrett
- Wodehouse

In 1894 he was discussing with the Toronto Board of Trade what could be done, and to get something started in the way of treatment, he donated $25,000 towards the construction of a sanatorium. With that the building of the Muskoka Hospital at Gravenhurst was started, Canada's first sanatorium. Two years later it began to admit patients. It shortly appeared that far more accommodation was needed so a second hospital, the Muskoka Free Hospital, was built about a mile away in 1902. Even with the second hospital, all the patients from the Toronto area could not be admitted so Mr. Gage bought the Dennis farm near Weston and founded what was to become the Weston Hospital in 1904.

This was the first Head Office of the National Sanatorium Association (ca. 1914).

Then, in 1910, this very intelligent volunteer turned his attention to medical and nursing services. To encourage doctors to take an interest in specializing in tuberculosis, he offered five scholarships of $100 each to medical students who would make a special study of the disease. When he found out how important nursing was, and particularly how many patients remained in their own homes and needed the advice of a district nurse, he interested himself in the work of the Victorian Order of Nurses. When it became plain that a dispensary was needed where the disease could be diagnosed and to which patients not hospitalized could come for medical advice, Sir William gave the city of Toronto a free dispensary in 1914, which later was named the Gage Institute.

Mr. Gage was knighted in 1917, to be called Sir William Gage from then on. He died 4 years later, in 1921, at the age of 72.