Captain Dr. Kenneth G. McKenzie
SAC 1906-1909

Captain Kenneth George McKenzie was born on June 13, 1892, in Toronto. He attended St. Andrew’s College from 1906 to 1909 and was quite an athlete. He played for 2nd Rugby, 1st Cricket and also enjoyed boxing and wrestling. After graduation he attended the University of Toronto; standing second in his class, he received the Silver Medal on graduation in 1914.

On August 5, 1914, McKenzie joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He served in France as a regimental medical officer and with 25 Field Ambulance. In 1916, he was granted leave, returned to Canada, and married Irene Biette of Tillsonburg. In 1917, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps as a Captain.

At the end of World War I, he bought a general practice and, in addition, he worked at the Christie Street Hospital for veterans and served as a demonstrator in anatomy. He tried to persuade Clarence L. Starr, the Professor of Surgery, to help him to become a surgeon, and took a correspondence course from England. He then entered England, taking the primary examinations of the Royal College of Surgeons, passing physiology and failing anatomy.

In 1922, he left Toronto to practice in a smaller community. However, in 1922 also, Harvey Cushing was awarded the Charles Mickle Fellowship by the University of Toronto. Cushing announced that he would contribute the award to the training of a Canadian in neurosurgery. McKenzie was that Canadian.

During 1922-34, he was Assistant Resident in Surgery and in charge of the Neurosurgical Service at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. Returning to Toronto, he became the resident in general surgery, after which he was appointed to the general surgical staff of the Toronto General Hospital, and the University of Toronto.

Dr. McKenzie’s writings covered a large part of neurosurgery, and the final results of his original work on intractable vertigo, started in 1932, were published 22 years later, based on careful follow-up studies. K.G. McKenzie was a surgeon’s neurosurgeon.

Kenneth George McKenzie, Canada’s first neurological surgeon and the founder of the specialty of neurological surgery in Canada, died on February 11, 1964.