Born:

May 1, 1831

(Norwich Township, Ontario)

Died:

April 29, 1903

Education:

MD, New York Medical College for Women (1867)

Awards & Honours:

1959: Humanist of the Year (American Humanist Association)

1957: Honorary President of the World Federalist Movement-Canada

Picture of Emily Stowe

Pioneered women’s right to practice medicine in Canada

Dr. Emily Stowe

First woman to establish a medical practice and founder of the suffrage movement in Canada

In 1865, although opportunities for women to study medicine in Canada were limited, Emily Stowe applied to the Toronto School of Medicine. She was denied entry. Unable to study in Canada, she moved to the United States and enrolled at the New York Medical College for Women, a homeopathic institution. She obtained her degree in 1867 and returned to Canada, setting up her practice in Toronto. In so doing, Dr. Stowe became the first women in Canada to establish a medical practice. For many years she was forced to practice without a license. She persevered, however, and on July 16, 1880 the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario granted her medical license. Dr. Stowe died in 1903 and is still remembers as a teacher, physician, suffragist, a defender of women’s rights and a champion for women in medicine.

Key Facts

Became a teacher at the age of 15 and the first female principal of Upper Canada at age 23

To receive her medical license in Ontario, she became one of the first two women to attend lectures at the Toronto school of medicine

Advocated for women’s rights in many fields, including women’s working conditions and access to higher education

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

When faced with repeated refusals to allow her to study in Ontario for her medical license, Dr. Stowe declared, “the day will come when these doors will swing wide open to every female who chooses to apply.” That day has come, and it is due to the perseverance and leadership of courageous women like Dr. Stowe.

Emily Stowe Stamp

2018

  • 2018 Inductees - resized

    Emily Stowe inducted posthumously into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Represented by her great, great grandaughter Megaera Fitzpatrick - London, Ontario

  • The Dispensary was renamed Women’s College Hospital and Dispensary. Today, it is one of Canada’s leading hospitals.

  • The “Dispensary”, a medical clinic created to provide clinical experience for students of Women’s Medical College (WMC), opened.

    Health and Medical Education & Training

    Not only did it offer WMC students’ clinical experience but also provided patients with an opportunity to see women physicians. This choice was a rare opportunity as medicine was a field dominated by men.

  • Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen, the daughter of Dr. Stowe, became the first woman to receive a Canadian medical degree when she graduated from Women’s Medical College.

    The Early Days - Health Care Pioneers, Women in Medicine

  • In an effort to increase women’s access to medical education, Dr. Stowe founded the Women’s Medical College.

    Health and Medical Education & Training, Women in Medicine

    Throughout its 22-year existence, Women’s Medical College graduated 128 women.

  • Dr. Stowe founded the Toronto Women’s Literary Club, later renamed the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association.

    The Early Days - Health Care Pioneers, Women in Medicine

    As a result of her efforts, she is considered the mother of the suffrage movement in Canada.

  • Upon her return from the United States, Dr. Stowe opened her practice on Richmond Street in Toronto

    The Early Days - Health Care Pioneers, Women in Medicine

1867

That Dr. Stowe is a trailblazer for women in Canada cannot be overstated.