Lives of the fellows

Ranald Ian Macdonald

b.23 May 1904 d.20 August 1987
BA Dalhousie(1926) MD CM(1930) MRCP(1933) FRCPC(1947) FRCP(1955) FACP(1947) Hon LLD Dalhousie(1968)

Ian Macdonald was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia. His father, Donald John Macdonald, was a physician and surgeon and his mother Marion, née Longworth, was the daughter of a lawyer. He was educated at King’s College School, Halifax Academy and the University of Dalhousie, pursuing his clinical studies at the Victoria General Hospital. Following house posts at the Toronto General Hospital, he took further postgraduate training in London, obtaining his membership of the College in 1933.

On returning to Canada, Ian Macdonald began his academic career as an instructor in medicine, and demonstrator in biochemistry and physiology, at Dalhousie, and as physician at the Halifax Visiting Dispensary. In 1936 he returned to Toronto and embarked on a teaching career which was to span 38 years. He was appointed a professor in the department of medicine, University of Toronto, and was also director of the division of postgraduate medical education from 1956-68. For four years prior to his retirement from the University he carried the additional responsibility of associate dean.

Macdonald was an attending physician at the Toronto General Hospital from 1936-68, and from then until his retirement in 1974 he was a consulting physician. During a 40-year period, 1934-74, Ian Macdonald’s work was primarily in the clinical field, including some private consulting practice which enabled him to keep fully abreast of the problems of practitioners and the changing attitudes of the public.

During the second world war, Ian served for five years with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps; in Canada for one year and four years overseas, 1941-45. Initially, he arrived in England as a medical specialist to No 2 casualty clearing station and No 7 Canadian General Hospital. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel in charge of medicine at No 9 Canadian General Hospital in England and to No 21 Canadian General Hospital in England and France. Following demobilization and return to Canada, he served as chief of medicine at Christie Street DVA Hospital, and continued in this capacity at Sunnybrook Hospital from 1947-66, where he was instrumental in creating an outstanding department of postgraduate medical education and training. He also served the DVA as adviser in medicine to the director general of treatment services, retiring from this position in 1974.

Ian Macdonald was elected president of the Academy of Medicine, Toronto in 1954, served eight years on the council of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and was president from 1963-64. He was a senior life member of both the Ontario and Canadian Medical Associations, and was for many years a member of the OMA committee on education. When the Ontario Council of Health was formed in 1966, the government appointed Macdonald as a charter member and he was subsequently reappointed, serving with distinction as the medical profession’s representative until his retirement.

Ian married Janet Marjorie Mackinnon in 1932. Her father, Clarence Dunlop Mackinnon was a clergyman and principal of a theological college. There were three children of the marriage, Margaret, Isabel and Donald. Ian spent his retirement at his family home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where he continued his special interest in colonial and maritime history, regularly attending courses at Acadia University. He was an ardent salmon fishing enthusiast and, in later years, became recognized as an extremely knowledgeable and competent apiculturist.

LM Blendis
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

(Volume VIII, page 302)

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