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The Doctor’s Office, recalled by many as “Dr. Bates’ Office”, was constructed in the vernacular Gothic Revival style back in 1848. It stood at 85 King Street West in Dundas, just west of Sydenham Street.
The land was owned by Dr. John Willison, who practiced medicine in Dundas from 1832, until his death in 1834. The actual structure, however, does not appear on assessment records until 1848.
Once constructed, the building served continuously as a doctor’s office for these local physicians:
- James Mitchell, 1840 – 1854
- James McMahon, 1852-1880
- David Gibson Inksetter, 1880-1882
- James Ross, 1883-1907
- Lyman Craig Lauchland, 1907-1935
- Clarence Lisle Bates, 1935-1974
In 1974, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce [CIBC], planned a major expansion project that jeopardized the building, since they were right next door. Dr. Bates moved his practice to another King Street location and chose to donate the historic building to the Dundas Museum.
The building made its way on a flatbed truck from King Street to its current location on the museum property. Restoration was performed on the building to try and recreate the appearance of the original architecture from the mid 1800’s. In July of 1976, the Doctor’s Office became the first property in Dundas to be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The Doctor’s Office is a testament to 125 years of medical practice in Dundas. The exhibits on display today draw on the years from 1850 – 1900. This was a period of revolutionary medical advancements, which significantly transformed the practice of the physician. It is a fascinating story, one that all ages can both appreciate and find intriguing.