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Emily Stowe

Image: Museum of Toronto.

Emily Stowe was a founder of the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association and the first female physician to publicly practice medicine in Ontario.
1831 - 1903 | Physician, School Principal, and Suffragist

An advocate for women’s rights and physical health, Emily Stowe was a founder of the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association and is considered the first female physician to publicly practice medicine in Ontario. Notably, she also became the first female principal of a public school in the province. Faced with limited opportunities for medical education in Canada, she pursued studies at the New York Medical College for Women. Upon her return, she opened a medical practice specializing in women and children in 1867. Canada’s evolving and exclusionary requirements for medical licensure meant that Stowe was forced to practice medicine without a formal Canadian license for over a decade. In 1880, she finally received her medical license from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, acknowledging her exceptional credentials and groundbreaking contributions to the field. She helped to establish Toronto’s first medical school for women in 1883 – the predecessor to Women’s College Hospital.

Stowe played a pivotal role in advancing women’s rights in Canada and empowering women in the medical field.

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