A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home


General History

LEGACY

Dr. Richard Nevitt left the horror of the American Civil War intent on starting more peaceful life in Canada. His pursuit of freedom left an indelible mark on his adapted country. Nevitt, along with the North West Mounted Police, helped bring order to the caotic western frontier. During the time when armed American 'whiskeytraders' were poisoning Natives and spreading violence, Nevitt insisted on a more civil and just way of life.
By earning the trust and respect of the local Blackfoot, Nevitt was allowed to provide medical support and care to their people, who were at times destitute and suffering the loss of the buffalo. Nevitt has also left an artistic legacy with his sketches and painting, providing future generations with a rich illustrated history of the settling of our land.

When he returned to Toronto, Dr. Nevitt became a co-founder of the Toronto Women's Hospital, and a great supporter of women's medicine. Up until this time, the health of women, particularly poor women, was ignored by doctors, who worked mainly for wealthy families who kept them on salary. Hospitals were a place where people went to die, not to get healed, and certainly not to have babies. The rate of infant and maternal mortality was abysmally high. By realizing the importance of improving health to women, in both childbirth and beyond, Nevitt, with other forward looking medical professionals, led Toronto towards better pubic health standards.

The contribution of other Americans in Canada has greatly enriched our economic and cultural life over the years. Unlike many other immigrants who try to retain aspects of their home culture while still becoming Canadian, many Americans, particularly war resisters (who were not proud of their country at the time of their departure), choose to quietly move into Canadian culture without bringing notice to their "American-ness." Canada is a fairly easy country to lose yourself in if you're an American.

Top of page