Activists and Advocates


For more than a century, Toronto’s Health Department has served as a model of evolving municipal public health services in Canada and beyond. From horse manure to hippies and small pox to AIDS, the Department’s staff have established and maintained standards of environmental cleanliness and communicable disease control procedures that have made the city a healthy place to live.

This centennial history anlyzes the complex interaction of politics, patronage and professional aspirations which determine the success or failure of specific policies and programs. As such, it fills a long neglected gap in our understanding of the development of local health services.

Using Toronto’s changing circumstances as a backdrop, the book details the evolution of the international public health movement through its various phases culminating in the modern emphasis on health promotion and health advocacy. By so doing, it demonstrates the significant contribution of preventive medicine and public health activities to Canadian life


"This handsome volume has dozens of well-chosen photos. Overall, MacDougall has made a useful contribution to the history of public health in a vital North American city."

The Canadian Historical Review

About the Author

Heather MacDougall

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Heather MacDougall

Born and raised in Toronto where she attended John Ross Robertson Public School and Lawrence Park Collegiate institute, Heather MacDougall, like her parents, siblings, and contemporaries, had personal experience of the services and programs which Toronto's Health Department provided. After completing her studies in Canadian urban and social history at U of T in 1981, she was asked to prepare a centennial history of Toronto's Health Department.