Blair, Allan Walker (1900–48)

Allan Walker Blair.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B11015

Allan Walker Blair was born on November 28, 1900, at Brussels, Ontario, and was 11 when his family moved to Regina, where he attended Victoria School and Central Collegiate. He earned a BA from the University of Saskatchewan in 1924, and MD CM degrees from McGill University in 1928. Blair taught Pathology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Tuscaloosa (1929–34), and studied surgery in Winnipeg in 1934–35. He was the first Canadian awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship to study cancer at New York Memorial Hospital, in 1935–36; he also visited cancer centres in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Sweden and Germany in 1936–37.

Blair was an associate in Radiotherapy at the Toronto General Hospital for two years before returning home to Regina to take charge of Radiotherapy in 1939. When the 1944 Cancer Control Act entitled Saskatchewan patients to free diagnosis and treatment, he became director of Saskatchewan Cancer Services and the Regina Cancer Clinic. After his death from coronary thrombosis on November 9, 1948, the new cancer clinic building was named in memory of Allan Blair’s inspired leadership and contributions to cancer care. The Regina Leader-Post recognized him as a great healer, adding that “his wit was delightful, the twinkle in his eye constant.”

Pat Krause