The Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historic Importance of Enid Gordon Graham

News Release

September 27, 2017                              Toronto, Ontario                                               Parks Canada

Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich and varied history in a special way. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience nature and learn more about our history.

Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada today commemorated the importance of Enid Gordon Graham, as a person of national historic significance. A special ceremony was held in Toronto, Ontario, with members of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the University of Toronto, and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant people, places, and events that contributed to our country’s diverse heritage. Enid Gordon Graham was instrumental in establishing physiotherapy in Canada. She is recognised as a founder of the formation of the modern profession of physiotherapy. Her work was at the forefront of physical therapy treatment - merging massage, medical gymnastics and other forms of physical therapy to care for polio victims and help rehabilitate soldiers wounded in the First World War. Graham spearheaded the founding of the first national association of physiotherapists in 1920, now known as the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She was also the driving force behind the establishment of the first degree program in physiotherapy at the University of Toronto in 1929. Graham chaired the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s Military Affairs Committee during the Second World War and successfully campaigned the Canadian military’s Director General of Medical Services to grant physiotherapists officer rank equivalent to that of Nursing Sisters. 

Canada’s national parks and national historic sites enable Canadians to experience their heritage in a special way and will play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

This year also marks the centennial of national historic sites and Parks Canada invites Canadians to discover and be inspired by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today. Take advantage of free admission to national historic sites in 2017, and discover truly Canadian places and stories with Parks Canada.


“The Government of Canada is pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of Enid Gordon Graham. Thanks to her efforts in this new female-dominated profession, physiotherapists were afforded professional status. She was an exceptional physiotherapist and educational pioneer who is an example of the important difference that women can make especially during that period. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I encourage all Canadians to take this opportunity to learn more about this great person and her important role in our country's history.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • Enid Gordon Graham studied in Europe and the United States in the new field of physical therapy, which was devoted to stimulating muscles, nerves, and circulation after disease or injury. These therapies emerged in the late 19th century and expanded during the First World War to play an important role in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.

  • Graham facilitated the contribution of 146 accredited physiotherapists in the Royal Canadian Medical Army Corps during the Second World War, aiding in the rehabilitation of thousands of injured Canadian soldiers. 

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.

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Brett Levitt
Communications Officer, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Program
Southwestern Ontario Field Unit
Parks Canada

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency

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