Hello there to any and all listening. My name is Sam Pitre and I will be your humble summer student for the duration of this climactic season. It’s been a week now since I had started and I have come to love the museum and its famous one time owner. Sir Frederick Banting had always been a major figure in what Wilfrid Laurier called “Canada’s Century” to me growing up. The education system that produced me emphasized him as a Canadian that truly epitomized the experience and broadcast it to the world. And now that I work at Banting House, I contribute to the maintenance of his memory.
Being a history student from the University of Western Ontario, I was pleasantly surprised that Banting once walked the same hallowed halls as I did during his stay as a young lecturer. And while yes, they aren’t exactly the same buildings that had hosted the famous medical scientist, I do feel a tad bit of a connection to him as a result. On those off days where the student woes of stress, grades or finances have got me down, I can remember that Sir Frederick Banting stood in the same spot as me, thinking similar thoughts that in the pressure cooker of his mind would eventually form that diamond of an idea that would pull him and several million others out of the mess that life had put them in.
But as I worked here I found out that unlike many academic minds of the last fifty years, Banting was not a man of the lab coat and the lab coat only. He, like many of his peers, was the result of the world that spawned him: an old world of tradition and local attachment that was cleaved apart by blood and flame in the First World War. Having healed men and been wounded in that war left a mark on Banting’s personality that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. His unpretentious nature and admiration of the Canadian landscape added to an already fierce nationalist streak in his character to truly make Banting “Canadian to the Core”. Its something that I really admire.
I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work at the Banting House for the remainder of the summer. I feel in awe at the trappings of a man over a century my senior and my intellectual superior. My time will be spent proudly presenting the legacy of this great man and his lasting contribution to not just Canada, but humanity as a whole to any and all visitors at Banting House. Thank you all for listening and I look forward to getting back to you in the upcoming weeks.
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