On January 21, 1897, nine dentists met in Dr. Peter Brown’s office on Beaver Hall Hill. They looked to the future and saw the need for an organization that would provide means for the English speaking dentists of Montreal to meet, discuss and study problems pertaining to their profession, but also to provide means whereby other worthy subjects could be studied and discussed. The names of the original nine members of this group were as follows: Dr. J.G. Gardner, Dr. Peter Brown, Dr. W.J. Kerr, Dr. J. Gentles, Dr. C.F. Morrison, Dr. J.M. Shaw, Dr. T.D. Tansey, Dr. .H. Oliver and Dr. R.L. Watson. It was decided that this new organization would be called the Montreal Dental Club.
[An excerpt from “The Montreal Dental Club, a historical sketch from 1897 to 1947” by J.S. Dohan, DDS, FACD]
Over the next hundred years and beyond, the Montreal Dental Club grew into an organization of 250 members. As the oldest continuous dental society in Canada, it was at the forefront of education, innovation, and philanthropy throughout it’s history. Seeing a need to expand dental continuing education beyond it’s membership, the Club started the Annual Fall Clinic in 1925, the predecessor to today’s JDQ. It was the first dental society to address the welfare of its members, creating in 1926 a dental liability insurance plan, in 1944 a group illness insurance plan, and in 1951 a group automobile insurance plan.
As a long time supporter of the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill University, the Club has sponsored numerous awards, scholarships and prizes over the years to the benefit of the dental students. This tradition continues to this day, with the Club providing a prize for the best table clinic at McGill’s annual Research Day.
The social conscience of the club extended well beyond the needs of its members and the dental community. In its early years, the Club provided free dental services to a number of benevolent societies around Montreal. In conjunction with the Junior Red Cross, school children in underprivileged areas of town were given care at minimal cost. And during World War II, British children brought to Canada for safety received complimentary care from Club members.
Beyond individual efforts, there was also a mandate for improving society at large. The Club was the leading proponent behind fluoridation of Montreal’s water supply. As early as 1949, the Club was behind efforts to promote this public health initiative. More recently, a large donation was made to the Jim Lund Clinic at the Welcome Hall Mission, which helps provide affordable care to lower income citizens.
Today, over 115 years after it’s inception as an organization, the Montreal Dental Club continues to fulfill its expanded mission to serve the needs of the dentists of the greater Montreal area.