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MUHC palliative care pioneer, Dr. Balfour Mount, gets his own commemorative stamp from Canada Post

This latest set of stamps salutes groundbreaking contributions to medicine and research

Having received many honours for his trailblazing work in the field of palliative care, Dr. Balfour Mount, O.C., O.Q., can now add a Canada Post commemorative stamp to his list of tributes.

In addition to Dr. Mount, the special edition celebrates the work of five other physicians and researchers including:

  • Dr. Bruce Chown, one of the few world leaders in eliminating rhesus (Rh) disease,  once a major cause of newborn deaths
  • Dr. Julio Montaner, whose research helped transform HIV/AIDS into a manageable condition with a near-normal life expectancy and has markedly reduced HIV transmission.
  • Dr. M. Vera Peters, who revolutionized treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer in an era when the work of female physician scientists was not often acknowledged.
  • Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch, transformed the world’s understanding of tissue renewal by confirming the existence of stem cells.

 Canada Post commemorative stamp

The stamp honourees were selected through careful consideration by the Canada Post Stamp Advisory Committee, a national group of historians, designers, philatelists and other experts from different regions of the country who make recommendations to Canada Post’s Board of Directors. The entire process can take up to two years.

Canada Post has produced a video honouring Dr. Mount.

Dr. Mount’s Legacy

While palliative care was almost non-existent in the 1970s, Dr. Mount launched a two-year pilot project in the field. He travelled to the United Kingdom to learn firsthand about the hospice movement and eventually persuaded the leadership of the Royal Victoria Hospital to open the first comprehensive Palliative Care Service in 1975 and began the McGill Programs in Whole Person Care in 1997.

“When pain and other symptoms are controlled, there really is limitless potential for quality of life at the end of life,” Dr. Mount once said. “A key component is that it’s not about ending things; it’s about the present moment. That’s all that any of us have – is just now. And, it turns out, that there’s endless potential in the present moment.”

His visionary work created a new medical specialty and transformed health care around the world.

“Patients owe much to Dr. Balfour Mount,” says MUHC President and Executive Director Dr. Pierre Gfeller. “He defined the field of palliative care, thus changing end-of-life-related clinical services, research and teaching, which continue to this day to evolve. That he created North America’s first in-hospital palliative care unit at the former site of the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1975 is obviously an immense source of pride for the MUHC, but his stamp on medicine extends well beyond our walls. The majority of Canadian hospitals now have palliative care services due to his desire to improve the quality of life of the dying. Thank you, Dr. Mount!”

Dr. Mount’s work will forever leave an imprint thanks to the whole-person-care approach he founded, which revolutionized teaching and research across MUHC hospitals and in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill.

 “What I remember the most about working with Dr. Mount was how much time he spent teaching. He loved to talk about palliative care and he loved to speak with his patients,” says Dr. Manny Borod, Director of the Division of Supportive and Palliative Care Programs at the MUHC. “I’m incredibly proud that our unit, the Balfour Mount Palliative Care Unit at the Glen, is named after someone who coined the term and who had a deep connection to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The fact that we have a unit at the Glen is a true testament to the value that our institution places on palliative care.”  

On behalf of the MUHC community, congratulations Dr. Mount and thank you for a rich medical legacy that resonates with all Canadians, coast to coast.

About the Medical Groundbreakers commemorative stamps

Designed by Mike Savage and Dale Kilian at Signals in Vancouver and printed by Colour Innovations, the Permanent™ domestic rate stamps are available in a booklet of 10.

To purchase the stamp visit canadapost.ca/shop.

 Canada Post commemorative stamp