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Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

In 1932, the Cody Commission, an Ontario Royal Commission, recommended that 3 cancer clinics be established in Ontario in Toronto, Kingston and London. In 1934, an agreement was reached between the Division of Cancer Control of the Ontario Department of Health and Victoria Hospital to establish the London clinic. After some delays, The Ontario Institute of Radiotherapy (OIR), Victoria Hospital, officially opened at the South Street Campus on May 26th, 1941.

And so began the long and illustrious history of the present London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre.

On October 27, 1951, the first treatment in the world with Cobalt-60 radiation took place at the OIR, Victoria Hospital with Dr. Ivan Smith as the attending physician. Developed by Dr. Smith in collaboration with Mr. Roy Errington from Eldorado Mining and Refining (1944) Ltd., the machine was known as the “Cobalt Bomb” or the “Peace Bomb”. Its technical name was the “Eldorado A”. This machine treated 16 new patients per month.

The Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation (OCTRF) was incorporated in 1943 by an Act of Legislation of the Province of Ontario, with a mandate to establish and conduct a program of diagnosis, treatment and research for cancer in Ontario. This included assuming the operation of the cancer clinics established across the province and on November 18th, 1954, the OIR became the London Clinic of the OCTRF. At the same time, the clinic relocated to new quarters, occupying 2 floors in the new east wing at Victoria Hospital’s South Street Campus. New radiation treatment equipment was added, making it the most modern clinic in Ontario. Read more