Today, I attended the Walk in the Footsteps of Banting event, hosted by the Sir Frederick Banting Legacy Foundation at the Banting Homestead, just north of Alliston, ON, near where I live right now. If you’ve never been – go. Seriously. Even if you don’t have a Diabetes or a Diabetes-related condition, you still need to jump in your car, your bike or put on your shoes (if you happen to live nearby) and go.

The entire property is devoted, not just to Nobel Laureate Sir Frederick Banting (it is his birthplace after all), but to the public’s education on the history of the discovery of Insulin and about the disease Diabetes. Insulin is the most important medical discovery of the 1900s, and the most famous one to be made by Canadians, and that’s taking into consideration Pablum, open-heart surgery, and Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (i.e. the HIV cocktail), among others. The property dives into:

  • How the property came to be in the Banting family,
  • How living on that property (Alliston still has a high level of agricultural enterprises in it’s town limits) helped get him to follow the path that he took to meet John Macleod, Charles Best and Bertram Collip,
  • How they isolated Insulin to be used as a potential treatment option & their trials,
  • How Banting & Best opted to sell their knowledge to the University of Toronto in order to make Insulin more accessible to those who need it.
  • Plus, it focuses A LOT on Diabetes education, especially in their 2nd floor exhibits and around the outdoor Legacy Trail.

Did you know that 40% of people with Type 2 Diabetes don’t know they have it? Yikes!!! Seeing that made me book an appointment with a doctor to get tested. I have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes and I have Hypoglycemia. I’ll let you know.

It took me going to Sir Frederick Banting’s childhood home to discover that one of the co-discoverers of Insulin, James Bertram Collip, Ph.D. was born in one of my hometowns, Belleville, ON. He was born in 1892 and educated at Belleville High School. Based on my research, I believe BHS to be the former name of the former Belleville Collegiate Institute and Vocational School that was on Church Street but is now Nicholson Catholic College’s Buckley Field. He remained in Belleville until leaving for Trinity College at the age of 15 (15!).

James Bertram Collip, Ph.D.
CBE, FRSC, FRS, D.Sc. (Harvard), D.Sc. (Oxford)

I mean, I kind of knew that to some extent, but not really. It’s not something that’s discussed or really recognized in the Quinte Region. It certainly was never brought up in mainstream education. To be fair thought, the one science class I didn’t take was Biology and I got pretty crummy (but passing) grades in Physics and Chemistry. LMK Quinte Region if this fact is actually addressed at all in high school chemistry or life sciences. More people are more familiar with the fact the Sir John A. MacDonald practiced law in Picton than are familiar with the fact that the biochemist who first purified Insulin so that it could be injected into humans safely, was born in the Quinte region. Who was about 29 years-old at the time.

After he left the team, he did more work in the field of biochemistry and he became a well-regarded Endocrinologist. Not surprisingly, Endocrinologists are doctors who research and treat all of the biochemical processes that make your body work (i.e. metabolism, your glands, and the hormones those glands make). He was also incredibly active with the National Research Council as a member of the Associate Committees on Naval Medical Research, Army Medical Research and Aviation Medical Research. More info on James Bertram Collip can be found at

The pamphlet from the presentation, along with the commemorative coin I received for attending.

It got me thinking about how much history is in the town’s that I live in, work in and am from, and who has also potentially walked the streets that I have. I love learning about local history and those that came before me. I’ve already talked about Alliston and Sir Frederick Banting, who is by-and-large their most notable son. I’m definitely going to have to compile a list of who are the most famous people that are from where I’m from and from where I currently live. I have a feeling this list has A LOT of NHLers courtesy of the OJHL, OHL and AHL teams in the Quinte Region (Go Dukes Go), all kinds of military figures in the Borden/Angus area (including Air Marshall William “Billy” Avery Bishop) and a lot of politicians and artists in the Barrie area. This is going to be fun!

Who are the most well-known people where you’re from or where you live?