Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce

(BA 1876 UC) (MA 1877 Toronto) (MD 1886 Toronto)

Physician Peter Henderson Bryce was a leader in public health, and an early advocate for Aboriginal children in residential schools. He founded Ontario’s public health service, drafted the province’s first public health legislation, and, as head of the first provincial board of health, was responsible for controlling outbreaks of disease and assuring the safety of the water supply and some foods. He later served as chief medical officer with the Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs, where he reported on the alarmingly high rates of death from tuberculosis among First Nations children in residential schools. The report was ignored by the government and Bryce was forced out of his post, but later published his findings in his book, The Story of a National Crime: Being a Record of the Health Conditions of the Indians of Canada from 1904 to 1921. The Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health is named in his honour, as is the P.H. Bryce Award of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada.