About Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw

The Elizabeth Bagshaw Women’s Clinic was named after Elizabeth Catherine Bagshaw – a family physician who opened and practiced at the first community birth control clinic in Canada in the 1930’s.

Dr. Bagshaw devoted her professional life to the cause of family planning and to helping women make informed choices. From 1932 until 1966, Dr. Bagshaw spent Friday afternoons as the medical director of Canada’s first and illegal birth control clinic, giving out birth control information and devices. She helped many impoverished families despite opposition from medical colleagues and local clergy. She would see any woman who had need of birth control. The clinic became legal in 1969 and has been supported by government grants.

She retired at the age of 95 and was the oldest practicing physician in Canada. Dr. Bagshaw was a true humanitarian. She was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada for the more than 30 years she devoted to the practice of medicine in the City of Hamilton. She also received many other honours during her lifetime.

The National Film Board of Canada made a movie of her life which was shown at a party marking her 99th birthday. She was 100 years old when she died on January 5, 1982