Toronto’s first Black doctors honoured with new plaques

Dr. Alexander Augusta and Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott

Two new plaques to honour Toronto’s first Black doctors were unveiled last Thursday by Heritage Toronto.

The first plaque is dedicated to American-born Dr. Alexander Augusta who was the first Black person to receive a medical licence in Canada. He was excluded from American medical schools but accepted to Toronto’s Trinity College in 1853, earning his licence in 1860.

The second plaque is in honour of Dr. Anderson Abbott who was born in Toronto to parents who fled racial violence in Alabama in 1834.

Abbott studied at University College and the Toronto School of Medicine, earning his licence in 1862 after apprenticing for Dr. Augusta.

Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott
Dr. Alexander Augusta

He became the first licensed Black doctor to be born in Canada.

Both doctors served in the U.S. Civil War, and devoted much of their time advocating for equality in the U.S. and Canada, while facing racism within their professions and broader society.

Augusta’s plaque will be installed at the corner of College St. and Queen’s Park Cr., and Abbot’s plaque will be in Doctors’ Parkette in downtown Toronto.

The public will be able to view both plaques in May.