A red brick house. The house is on a corner lot of a street and has a veranda in the centre. On the right is a rectangular tower and on the left is a protrusion with a spherical top.

Reform City: Home of Dr. Ogden

Home of Dr. Ogden

A red brick house. The house is on a corner lot of a street and has a veranda in the centre. On the right is a rectangular tower and on the left is a protrusion with a spherical top.

Former home of Dr. Uzziel Ogden. 21 Maple Avenue, December 19, 2022.

A medical tariff for north york, south simcoe and the surrounding area It says:
“By order of the Profession. 
For medical Advice in office, with or without Medicine From $.50 to 1.5.
For Visits in the villages during the day $1.00. 
For Visits in the villages during the night $2.00
For Visits into the country one mile or less $1.0. 
For Visits into the country each mile after the first $0.50. 
For Visits into the country night, one mile or less S2.00. 
For Visits into the country night, per mile $0.75. 
For consultation visits an extra fee of $1.00 to 2.00.
For medical certificates of any kind (mileage extra as above) $2.00.
For unusual detention every hour after the first, by day $0.50. 
For unusual detention every hour after the first, by night $0.75. 
Surgical cases.
 For Capital operations as lithotomy, amputations of upper or lower extremities, removal of large tumors, operations for cataract, &c. From $15.00 to $50.00.
For minor operations, as removal of tonsils, amputation of fingers, cutting for fistulae, small tumors, hydrocele $4.00 to $10.00
For catheterism, use of probang or bougies $1.00 to $2.00
For setting Fractures of lower extremities $5.00 to $30.00.
For setting Fractures of upper extremities $5.00 to $10.00.
For reductions of dislocations- lower extremities $10.00 to $20.00.
For reductions of dislocations- upper extremities $5.00 to $10.00.
For bleeding, vaccination, tooth drawing, opening of abscesses, cupping, setons, issues $0.50 to $2.00.
After attendance in surgical cases, charged as ordinary visits.
Obstetrical Cases
For ordinary cases, each $5.00.
If more than 5 miles distant mileage, as above also charged.
If instrumental cases, or those seriously complicated, as with Hemorrhage, convulsions &c.  $10.00.
Subsequent attendance, as above, excepting a single visit where the distance is 4 miles or less.
Detention over six hours, per hour, in addition to the above $0.50.
Medicine to be charged extra”
At the end are the names of the doctors in he area.

Medical Tariff, North York, 1866. Image courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.

A black and white image of a man standing beside a column. He is wearing a suit and has his left arm resting on the column.

Dr. Uzziel Ogden, Etobicoke, 1865. Image courtesy of Marg Brown.

A black and white ovular image of a man. He is wearing a suit and looking to the left of the image. His hair and beard are white. Only the top half of the man is visable.

Dr. Abner Mulholland Rosebrugh, Toronto. Courtesy of the University of Toronto Archives.

Medical Care in Toronto’s Early Charities

For most of the 19th century, Toronto’s charities provided a variety of welfare services including medical care. Hiring a doctor for home visits was expensive, which made it inaccessible to a large portion of the city’s population. Instead, providing affordable medical care was the job of the city’s hospitals. However, hospitals often did not have the capacity for all of Toronto’s sick. Other charities, which usually were not as well-equipped for medical aid, could serve as overflow. 

Like other welfare institutions at the time, most of Toronto’s hospitals were almost exclusively privately funded and relied on donations to survive. In 1867, a lack of funding forced Toronto General Hospital to close for a year. During its closure, the House of Industry filled the role as a medical care centre for the hospital’s patients.  

Dr. Uzziel Ogden

To reduce the cost of care, some doctors donated their time to help local charitable institutions. One such doctor was Uzziel Ogden. Born in 1828, Ogden worked closely with a number of charities in the city including the Hospital for Sick Children, the Protestant Orphan’s Home, and the Home for Incurables. In 1861, he began working with the House of Industry. During the 1867 closure of Toronto General, Dr. Ogden helped care for the patients that were moved to the House of Industry.

Due to high population densities within Toronto’s charities, illnesses could spread rapidly. This was the case for the Protestant Orphan’s Home, which experienced a measles outbreak in 1860. Over the next few years, Dr. Ogden created an infirmary at the Home and increased the building’s ventilation and drainage systems to prevent illness. He also organised vaccinations for the Home’s children.

Dr. Abner M. Rosebrugh

Another philanthropic doctor was Dr. Abner M. Rosebrugh. Born in 1835, Dr. Rosebrugh is considered the father of ophthalmology in Toronto. Like Dr. Ogden, Dr. Rosebrugh worked with many charitable institutions during his career. After it closed due to lack of funding, Dr. Rosebrugh reopened the Toronto Free Dispensary, which offered free medical care. He also created the Toronto Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1867.  

Many individuals at the House of Industry and other city charities relied on the dispensary and Dr. Rosebrugh, especially those with eye-related issues. The House of Industry staunchly fought against establishing a permanent infirmary, considering healthcare outside of its mandate. Instead, it employed medical experts to examine applicants, some of whom came from afar for assistance.

For example, in July 1868, George Thomas, a 48 year-old father with low vision, came to Toronto from Delhi Township in the hopes of receiving treatment for his eyes. Dr. Rosebrugh agreed to assist him free of charge, and George Thomas spent a month at the House of Industry undergoing treatment.


Public Funding and Modern Medicare

In 1874, Ontario passed the Charities Aid Act. The act allowed the government a new framework to give hospitals, houses of industry, and orphan homes yearly grants based on use. Over the next two decades, public spending on these institutions increased from $12,610 in 1870 to over $77,000 in 1890. During this period, a number of hospitals including Toronto General expanded to provide more care.

In 1882, the government revised the Public Health Act and created an Ontario Board of Health. The revisions to the Act gave municipalities the ability to appoint a medical officer. Throughout the early 20th century, Toronto’s medical officers and local boards of health funded a variety of services including free medical and dental examinations for school aged children. But it was not until 1957, when the Government of Canada passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, that Torontonians would see the true beginning of a universal healthcare system. This Act ensured that the Canadian government would provide partial coverage of certain tests and procedures. Today Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan covers most of the costs associated with healthcare. 

Additional Resources