Cornwall honours first Surgeon General of Canada

Marc Benoit, Special to TC Media
Cornwall honours first Surgeon General of Canada
The SDG Highlanders hosted Tuesday night's plaque unveiling at the Cornwall Armoury

CORNWALL, Ontario – Community members gathered at the Cornwall Armoury on the night of Tuesday, November 8, to pay homage to a great, local historical figure. The Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Highlanders’ Regimental Foundation, along with the Ontario Heritage Trust, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the life and contributions of doctor Colonel Darby Bergin.

“Among his many achievements, Colonel Darby Bergin made significant contributions to medicine in Ontario. He promoted health in many forms,” said Ontario Heritage Trust Chair, Thomas H.B. Symons, by way of press release.

“Over a century later, we continue to benefit from his work and are delighted to honour this outstanding Ontarian with a provincial plaque.”

Bergins was born in Toronto, then called York, and studied at McGill University, in Montreal, before practicing medicine in Cornwall, and entering politics. He is also well regarded for having helped the Akwesasne Mohawks during a smallpox outbreak. Bergins was eventually elected MP for the area, and went on to become the first Surgeon General of Canada. Additionally, Bergins was also a strong supporter and commanding officer for the 59th Stormont and Glengarry Battalion of the Highlanders. Bergins was also instrumental in the development of the Cornwall canal system, before his passing in 1896.

“We are pleased to honour this amazing and unique Canadian,” said retired Leuitenant Colonel, and Highlanders President, William L. Masson.

“He shaped the community of Cornwall and Canada’s Medical Corps and the Ontario Pacific Railway’s Cornwall-to-Ottawa line. In honour of his extraordinary legacy Bergin Avenue and Bergin Lake were named after him.”

The plaque’s permanent home will be at the Precious Blood Parish Cemetery in the Glen Walter community. Since 1956, the Ontario Heritage Trust has commemorated over 1200 plaques to historical figures across Ontario

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