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STORIES / Rowena Hume

Rowena Hume

Rowena Hume co-founded the first birth control clinic in Canada and was the first president of the Women’s College Hospital.

A portrait illustration of Rowena Hume.

Physician and Reproductive Rights Advocate

Part of the committee responsible for founding Women’s College Hospital, Rowena Hume served as the hospital’s first President in 1911. She was also the hospital’s first Chief of Obstetrics Gynaecology; a position that she held for twenty years. Prior to her work at Women’s College Hospital, she lectured in Pathology and Bacteriology and was an assistant in Anatomy at Ontario Medical College for Women from 1902 to 1906. In 1932 she, along with Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw, a former colleague at the Ontario College for Women, founded the first birth control clinic in Canada in Hamilton, Ontario. A lifetime committed healthcare provider, Hume continued to run a private practice in Toronto after retirement. At the time of her passing in 1966, she was the oldest practicing female physician in Canada.

Hume’s work propelled the study and care of women’s health – the impacts of which are still felt today.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

Further Resources
Learn about the history of Women’s College Hospital

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