Harry W. Bain

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Dr. Harry Bain (1921 – December 21, 2001) was born and raised in Cache Bay, a tiny town on the north shore of Lake Nipissing, where, through his father’s lumber mill, he had access to the thousands of acres of lakes and forests up to Temagami.  Harry’s love of the outdoors, canoeing and fishing lasted all his life. He went to high school in North Bay.

He was always good company. Behind his unpretentious manner was a keen academic mind, evident as a student, and in his career. After an internship at Toronto General, his RCAMC service at first was as medical officer to the old men of the Veteran’s Guard in North Bay, and then as a medical officer on the Queen Mary carrying the thousands of war brides and their infants from the UK back to Canada via New York. It is fair to conclude that this is what made Harry an enthusiast for pediatrics.

After residencies at Toronto General, Sunnybrook and Sick Kids, and a fellowship in Winnipeg with the renowned Bruce Chown, Harry spent a year in practice in Sudbury before coming back on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children, where his talents as a teacher and consultant led to him becoming Pediatrician-in-Chief and Chairman of the university Department of Pediatrics for ten years. He led this to greatness. At one point four university heads had been trained by him.

His advice was sought by residents and staff alike, particularly in his fields of endocrinology and diabetes. The Hospital for Sick Children noted his “sincere compassion for children and their families” and that “his name is revered in the pediatric community”. He was a pediatric consultant to most of Toronto’s teaching hospitals. The hospital named its most prestigious teaching award for him.

He spent several months teaching in Nigeria, but his most notable external contribution was to the scattered and medically under-serviced First Nations people of northwest Ontario. Harry initiated the successful program, continuing to this day, in which University of Toronto physicians, surgeons and pediatricians spend time at the hospital at Sioux Lookout, and would fly out to remote villages.

At the end of his career Harry returned to the north country, this time to live on the south shore of Lake Nipissing with his beloved wife Barbara. Here the children gathered around them and marveled to see Harry, still a keen fisherman, out on the ice to his last days.

Honours were heaped on Harry - the Order of Canada, the highest awards of both the Canadian Pediatric Association and the Canadian Medical Association, and an honourary LLD from his own university, at which he was asked to give the Convocation Address.  He was accorded Honourary Doctor of Letters by Laurentian University in 1976. The Harry Bain Teaching Award was launched in 1977, awarded annually by consent of the Pediatric Resident Staff to the most outstanding teacher of HSC. He was involved with Dr. Chute in the development of a summer camp for disabled and diabetic children and directed the program for several years.


Career Acheivements

Director, Sioux Lookout program, University of Toronto

Honours and Awards

Order of Canada

Award from Canadian Pediatric Association

Award from Canadian Medical Association


Excerpt written by: Dr. Henry Barnett


Barnett, Henry, Joan Borland, Jack Laidlaw, Neil Watters and Bruce Wells. The Epic Journey of University of Toronto Medical Class of 1944. Toronto: University of Toronto, Faculty of Medince, 2012. pg. 15

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