Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Isabelle McTavish (1881-1953)

Physician, missionary.

Born near Minnedosa on 19 December 1881, daughter of John McTavish and Catherine Waddell, she taught school at Ravens Glen School (1910) then attended the Manitoba Medical College, graduating in 1915. In September of that year, she traveled under the auspices of the United Church of Canada to its Wuan Mission in China. There she established a hospital and worked as a surgeon. In 1927, at the outbreak of civil war between the Nationalist and Communists, she evacuated to Canada and was put in charge of the George W. Large Memorial Hospital at Bella Bella, British Columbia and, later, of the United Church Hospital at Bonnyville, Alberta. She returned to China and, in 1940, was imprisoned for three years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. She went back to China in 1946 and reopened her hospital, coming back to Canada two years later, settling for a time in the old family residence at Newdale but moving in 1949 to Winnipeg. She died there, unmarried, on 24 January 1953. She was buried in the Newdale Cemetery.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Last rites today for Dr. McTavish,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1953, page 9.

Foot Prints & Chalk Dust by Cardale Reunion Book Committee, circa 1981.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 October 2013

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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