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Dr. Frederick Douglas Sinclair

Lord Tweedsmuir Senior Secondary School students from 1971 to 1979 prepared original research essays on aspects of Surrey's History. This was one assignment that was produced each year by Mr. J. Brown's Social Studies 11 classes. This article on Dr. Fred D. Sinclair was prepared by Marilyn Dun in June, 1978. It was published by the Surrey Leader under the byline of Tweedsmuir Centennial Highlights


Dr. Fred D. Sinclair was born in Charlotte County at St. Andrews, New Brunswick. It was in high school that he showed interest in the medical profession. He went to Dalhousie University in 1902. A few years later, he graduated from McGill University in Montreal. He received his degree as Doctor of Medicine. He served his internship in Montreal.


Dr. Sinclair

In 1911, he came west and settled in Cloverdale. The doctor was a big, bluff, outdoors sort of fellow and he became very popular with everyone in the community. In 1913, he was appointed Surrey's Medical Health Officer. Around that time he returned back east and came home with a bride. In time they would have three children: Fred Jr., Marion and Eleanor. Dr. and Mrs. Sinclair started on plans to build a large house in Cloverdale. There was also space for the doctor's office and a waiting room. However, the plans for the future home were put away because of the World War. In 1915, Dr. Sinclair went off to war and was replaced by Dr. Morley for the duration.


Dr. Sinclair returned to Surrey in July, 1919. He resumed his duties as the M.H.O. and continued his private practice. The doctor was always there when he was needed. He never sent out a bill. If people paid, he accepted; if they didn't, he never asked. This made things rough for his wife and their three children. His practice began in the horse and buggy days when many of the roads in Surrey were but trails. Somehow the doctor always got around the Municipality to deliver a baby or bring relief to the sick.


One of Dr. Sinclair's proudest possession was a mantle clock given to him by the members of the Cloverdale Canadian Legion Branch No. 6 in appreciation of his efficient and kind ministrations as a doctor, and also for the fight he had put up in the cause of justice on their behalf with the government and other groups for physical relief, property and pension plans.


The doctor's hobbies were hunting, fishing and golfing. The doctor was admired for his talent in hunting and fishing. He also won a few golf trophies.


Dr. Sinclair was a reliable country doctor and was respected by all the medical men who knew him, especially for his power of diagnosis which was well-known throughout the BC medical fraternity. There was no doubt that Dr. Sinclair had the busiest practice and the largest territory on the Lower Mainland.


Dr. Sinclair was a familiar figure to the school children of Surrey, as he made the rounds of the schools to give each pupil a yearly health examination. Mrs. Sinclair served as his nurse.


At the time there was only one doctor serving the expanding population of Surrey. There was a need for some type of Home Nursing Service. Dr. Sinclair was the driving force that resulted in the establishment of the Victorian Order of Nurses in Surrey.


The war years and post war years saw the need for a Surrey hospital becoming more acute. It was decided that data gathering should begin at once. This was the beginning of what has been called the "hospital war" in Surrey. Where was the hospital to be located? The outcome was that Peace Arch Hospital was built to serve the area south of No. 10 Highway, and later, Surrey memorial Hospital was built to serve the northern half of the Municipality.


On January 28, 1952, Dr. Sinclair passed away. He was one of the most respected figures in the community of Surrey. Hundreds of residents attended his funeral in the Cloverdale United Church. Rev. Dan McLean stated: It will be a long time before people realize just how great a man lived among them.



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