Dr. J.T. Harold Robinson

Dr. Harold Robinson
“Doc Robbie’s” service and contributions in the medical field and his involvement in Walkerton’s community life, makes him an integral part of being a “Bruce Explorer”

Dr. J.T. Harold Robinson (May 6, 1895- May 8, 1983)


“He was one of the few surviving so-called old-time physicians in the Province, and his entire period of active participation in the medical profession was in the Bruce Capital.” Obituary (Died May 8, 1983)


Dr. Harold Robinson was a true “Explorer” of Bruce County as he was the first Chief of the Medical Staff at the Bruce County Hospital in Walkerton. Harold was born on May 6, 1895 in the township of East Wawanosh, Huron County. He began his early education at a country school and then proceeded to work on his dad’s farm near Wingham. When he was almost 20 years old, Harold sustained a severe leg fracture. During his convalescence, he decided to return to school to become a doctor.


Harold enrolled in Wingham High School and upon graduation, he entered the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He received the M.B. degree in 1924 and then proceeded to receive an internship at Highland Hospital, Rochester, New York. In 1925, at the age of 30, Harold established his practice in Walkerton.


Harold was affectionately known as “Doc Robbie” during his 48 years of service in Bruce County. He began his work when many babies were born at home and tonsils were sometimes taken out on the kitchen table. House calls were an important part of Harold’s practice and before town roads were ploughed in the winter, he made many trips through major snowstorms to visit patients. While he was on his way to deliver a baby in Formosa, Harold had to be picked up by horse and sleigh. It was such an event as this that prompted him to put runners on the front of his car. This vehicle became classified as Walkerton’s first snowmobile as he placed heavy chains on the rear wheels to plough through most County roads.


Harold was credited with fulfilling a number of medical roles while continuing with his general practice. He was the first Chief-of-Staff of the Bruce County General Hospital and was honoured with an Award of Merit in 1965. During the early 1920’s and 1930’s, he was the Secretary of the Bruce County Medical Society. Harold was on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Medical Association, as well as serving on several O.M.A. Committees. One of these committees was the Committee on Homes for the Aged and he extended his interest in this area as he became the resident medical doctor at Brucelea Haven. Always keenly interested in the community, Harold organized the first Christmas Seal Campaign in Walkerton in 1942. In 1953, he established the Bruce County T.B. Association. At one point in time, Harold had also been a coroner and jail surgeon.


Community involvement also came in the form of Harold’s participation in sports. He was a keen curler, golfer and lawn bowler. He was an active member of St. Paul’s United Church, Walkerton where he served in the capacities as Sunday School Superintendent , Church Board member, and a member of the Choir. Harold was a member of the Saugeen Masonic Lodge and he received his fifty-year pin in 1975.


In 1931, Harold married Sadie Bremner of Barrie. They had the privilege of celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1981. Harold and Sadie produced three children whom chose careers in the health field. Their son, Campbell became a doctor and daughters; Sylvia graduated in physical and occupational therapy and Ann graduated in physical and health education.


On May 8, 1983, Dr. Harold Robinson passed away and his funeral took place at St. Paul’s United Church with a large crowd of mourners in attendance. Internment followed in the Walkerton Cemetery. His granddaughter, Tara Keating who is presently employed as a physiotherapist at London Health Services Center, Victoria Hospital Campus recently wrote: “Yes indeed I have come across a handful of patients who had Grandpa as a doctor! Most recently was within the last 6 months. I can’t remember their names, unfortunately! They all had nice things to say about him!” (January, 2017)


“Doc Robbie’s” service and contributions in the medical field and his involvement in Walkerton’s community life, makes him an integral part of being a “Bruce Explorer”.


Sources: Research File A2017.006 (.001, .002 Dr. J.T.H. Robinson) from the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre.


Explorer's of Bruce

Mir Hassamudddin - Shenstone Motor Inn Elaine Mathewson
henry_paliga Abdon Aguillon
Debbie Giles Ed Giles
Margaret Adams (Copeland) Jennifer-Lea Oaks Jacalene Burrows (Wiggins)
Katie Lutz Asha and Averee Hamann Jim McTeer Katherine Gowing Gerda Roppel Bev Johnston Joyce Johnston Val Kerr Liz Stobo
Ray Pennington Marcus Lorch, Shepard, Lily Louis Schafer Laurel and Dan Silenzi Jan and John Donnelley Larry Catteau Gay Ratcliffe Gretta Fletcher
Wendy Henderson Larry Weber Maureen Daly-Doersam David Myette Rosanne Moore and Tim Amos Dr. John Van Dorp
Ron Logan Bette Cameron Rowena Tindall Elaine Robins Lloyd Ruffett Lois Hutton Steve Gurney Lilian Chatburn Nathan S Landon
Dr. Harold Robinson Watching the 1987 Canada Cup hockey game Samuel Crawford Retube Bruce "A" Now! Robert Sutherland Plaque at Bruce County Courthouse Thomas Scott moving a house Mel Schroeder Karen Ribey
Ron Oswald Alexander McNeill with his dog There is a season for everything and God gave us memories so we could have roses in December. Lucknow Pipe Band Eldon Lowry Bob Kerry Dennis Hunter Sergio Holobrosky
Captain Alfred Hackett Tish Ford Hugh Ferguson family in front of car Pearl McKelvie Paterson Kerr Elsie Dobson William Wilfred Campbel Joan M Borho Jeanette Steeves The Late George Redden, Carrick Township
Donald McLellan, the Old Reeve of Bruce Township Alexander McCarter, Walkerton William Millar Ex-Reeve of Kincardine Township William Millar, JP of Kincardine Township John Little, one of the first settlers of Brant Township William Johnston, or King Johnston first settler in Brant Township Dr. Margaret MacKellar Howard Krug Bruce County Warden Tessie Greig
Sergeant William Victor Tranter in uniform Rachel Hepburn John S. Tolton, Walkerton Thomas Todd, one of the first settlersin Brant Township Edward McDonald, Deputy Reeve of Walkerton Peter Stewart McLaren, Bruce Township William Carnegie, Mildmay James Taylor, MD, Tara James Murphy, MD, Mildmay
Richard Rivers, President of the Northern Exhibition Society, Walkerton Malcolm Campbell, Lucknow Samuel T. Rowe, Paisley Thomas Pickard, Glammis Paul Ross, Ex-Mayor of Walkerton Michael Fischer, many years Reeve of Carrick Township William Collins, Walkerton James Allen, Reeve of Amabel Township George Gould, Arran Township
Andrew Bingham, pioneer of Carrick Township Richard Guinn, deceased, one of the first settlers of Brant Township John Grainger, Brant Township Charles Wickham, Kincardine Township David Gairdner, deceased, Late Clerk of Kincardine Township Yours Truly, Thomas Bearman, Elderslie township James Reekie, deceased, settled in Kincardine Township 1854 Ira Fulford, one of the first settlers of Teeswater John Douglass, Arran Township
Robert Baird, Kincardine, Warden of Bruce County John Gillies, MP for North Bruce Duncan Kerr, Brant Township Peter F. Brown, First Settler in Teeswater John Hunter Luke Gardiner Alexander McNabb, Crown Land Agent, Southampton A.S. Elliot Robert Graham
Ann-Marie John Valentine Alexander Sproat Sir William Hearst Hannah Rusk Kelly Colonel Hugh Clark Francis Paddy Walker John Harnage Scougall in his office