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Manitoba History No. 89

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Memorable Manitobans: Francis Gertrude McGill (1877-1959)

Forensic pathologist.

Born at Minnedosa in 1877, she attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, graduating with a medical degree in 1915. She received the Hutchinson Gold Medal for the highest academic average. Dr. McGill interned at the Winnipeg General Hospital, and then took graduate training at the Provincial Medical Laboratory.

In 1918 she was appointed the Provincial Bacteriologist with the Saskatchewan Department of Health, then took over as Provincial Pathologist in 1920. She became the director of the provincial laboratory and was key in handling suspicious deaths with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She retired as Provincial Pathologist in 1942.

In 1943 Dr. McGill became director of the RCMP’s forensic laboratory, and is now considered by the organization as the first female RCMP officer. She was integral in solving many cases as well as training the officers in topics such as Medical Jurisprudence, Pathology and Toxicology. After her retirement in 1946 she was appointed as the Honorary Surgeon for the RCMP, and she continued to serve as a consultant to the force.

She died on 21 January 1959. Lake McGill in northern Saskatchewan is named for her.


Collections Canada, Canadian Women in Science.

University of Manitoba, History of Manitoba Women in Health.

This page was prepared by Angela Graham.

Page revised: 9 June 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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