A History of Connaught Laboratories

A series of articles is being published here that detail the history of the Connaught Fund and particularly of Connaught Laboratories, the sale of which by the University of Toronto in 1972 led to the original establishment and endowment of the Fund. Connaught Labs’ rich legacy of research, innovation and production of essential biological public health products began in 1914 and after over a century, continues today in Toronto at the Sanofi Pasteur Canada Connaught Campus. The articles will focus on key episodes in Connaught Labs’ rich and unique legacy while it was a vital part of the University of Toronto.

Connaught History Series

Article #12: Drifting Apart: Connaught Labs & The University of Toronto, 1966-1972

On June 21, 1966, Connaught Medical Research Laboratories reached a critical milestone in its evolution as a vital and self-sufficient part of the University of Toronto. This milestone was reflected read more

Article #11: Precision Innovations: Rabies Vaccines, Tuberculin PPD & Sulphated Insulin at Connaught Labs, 1958-1970

The late 1950s through the 1960s was a very innovative time at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories. As discussed in the three previous articles, the Labs’ were making major advances with read more

Article #10: Connaught Labs, Persistent Pertussis & Bacterial Vaccines Improvement

Developing innovative ways to improve and refine the production of vaccines and other biological health products was central to the mission of Connaught Laboratories while it was a vital part read more

Article #9: Connaught Labs, Smallpox & Stopping “The Speckled Monster”

On August 17, 1962, smallpox was finally suspected to have infected 14-year-old James “Jimmie” Orr, and was confirmed three days later. He had arrived in Toronto with his parents on read more

Article #8: From Salk To Sabin: Persistent Polio and Vaccine Innovation at Connaught Labs, 1955-1962

The persistence of the poliomyelitis problem in Canada and around the globe, despite the effectiveness of the Salk vaccine, drove further polio vaccine research and innovation efforts at Connaught Laboratories read more

Article #7: Connaught Labs, Polio Research & Conquering “The Crippler”

During the first half of the 20th century, the crippling toll of poliomyelitis grew alarmingly in Canada while other major childhood disease threats, particularly diphtheria, as discussed in Article #4 read more

Article #6: Connaught Labs, World War II & Biotech Innovation

After an especially productive decade during the 1930s, particularly with insulin and heparin development, as was recounted in Article #5 in this series, the start of World War II began read more

Article #5: From Insulin to Heparin: Innovation at Connaught Labs During the 1930s

As recounted in the previous article in this series, the latter two-thirds of the 1920s were a highly productive period at Connaught Laboratories, fueled particularly by expanding insulin production, the read more

Article #4: A Relentless Pace: Connaught Labs, Insulin Innovation, School Building and Defeating Diphtheria, 1923–29

The previous article in this series ended with representatives of the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Health Board visiting the University of Toronto in the fall of 1923 to meet with Dr. read more

Article #3: Connaught Laboratories & The Making of Insulin

This series of articles was sparked by the three brief lines on the Connaught Fund website about the history of the Fund and of Connaught Laboratories. The first two articles read more

Article #2: Connaught Laboratories & The Crucible of World War I

Sanofi Pasteur Canada Archives

As emphasized in the first article in this series, the Connaught Fund website originally included three lines about the history of Connaught Medical Research Laboratories; these lines jump from mentioning read more

Article #1: Origins: From the Connaught Fund & Back to Connaught Laboratories

Sanofi Pasteur Canada Archives

The Connaught Fund was founded in 1972 when U of T sold the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories for $29 million. The lab had been established in 1914 to produce diphtheria read more

Check back soon for more articles!

About the Author

Christopher J. Rutty

This series of articles are written by Christopher J. Rutty, Ph.D., a professional medical historian with special expertise on the history of public health, infectious diseases and biotechnology in Canada. He earned his Ph.D. at U of T in the Department of History, with his dissertation on the history of poliomyelitis in Canada. Since completing his Ph.D. in 1995, Dr. Rutty has provided a wide range of historical research, writing, consulting and creative services to a variety of clients through his company, Health Heritage Research Services. Dr. Rutty holds an Adjunct Professor appointment in U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health based in the Division of Clinical Public Health. He has also curated prominent historical exhibits for the Faculty of Medicine on the discovery of insulin @ MaRS, as well as the historical wall panels in the Medical Sciences Building’s C. David Naylor Student Commons space.