Christopher Widmer

Christopher Widmer, surgeon, medical educator, medical administrator (b at High Wycombe, Eng 15 May 1780, d at Toronto 3 May 1858). Widmer was a dominant figure in Upper Canadian medicine from the 1820s almost until his death.

Widmer, Christopher

Christopher Widmer, surgeon, medical educator, medical administrator (b at High Wycombe, Eng 15 May 1780, d at Toronto 3 May 1858). Widmer was a dominant figure in Upper Canadian medicine from the 1820s almost until his death. After serving on the medical staff in Spain and Portugal in the Peninsular War (1808-14) and in Canada (1814-17), he settled at York [Toronto]. In 1819 he was appointed to the Medical Board of Upper Canada, and presided over this and successor regulatory boards (1822-58), leading the push for high standards of medical practice and education. He was influential in the founding of the Toronto General Hospital, the provincial lunatic asylum and the King's College (U of T) medical school. In 1853 Widmer was briefly chancellor of the university, elected in a vain protest against government plans to close the medical school. In politics he was conservative, until late in 1836, when he became a prominent ally of W.W. and Robert BALDWIN. From 1843 to 1858 he served on the legislative council of Canada. Fiercely energetic, profane of speech, a reputed atheist and philanderer, Widmer remained a brilliant surgeon until remarkably late in life.