In Memory of Dr. Bruce Halliday 1926-2011
Bruce Halliday was born in Woodstock, Ontario, son of Clarence and Edith Halliday, nee Edith Victoria Phillips. His great, great grandfather, John Halliday, came to Canada from Dumfries-shire, Scotland and located in Lanark County in Ontario in 1816. Bruce had considerable experience in travelling in Canada in his early years, having lived in Oxford County, Ontario and in Alberta, before attending public schools in Saskatchewan and Montreal and high schools in Toronto, Sherbrooke and Ottawa. At the University of Toronto, he learned to follow the old maxim, "Never let our studies interfere with your education." As a result, when he graduated in 1951, with an M.D. degree, he had developed an understanding of people and an attitude toward patients and confreres which contributed greatly to his subsequent success as a family physician.
He came to Tavistock in July, 1952, after an internship of one year at Toronto Western Hospital. It soon became apparent that Dr. Halliday possessed, in good measure, the qualifications necessary for successful participation in a medical partnership. In 1953, he and Dr. Taylor formed a partnership which proved to be the nucleus around which developed the Tavistock Medical Group (today known as Tavistock Community Health Inc).
Early in his practice, Dr. Halliday began to acquire additional experience in anaesthesia. His proficiency in this field was further promoted when he was awarded a scholarship which was used for more training in anaesthesia. He was active in medical organizations and is a former Secretary and a Past President of the Ontario Chapter of the College of General Practice of Canada (1967), a member of the Ontario Medical Association and of the Canadian Anaesthetists Society and President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (1971-2). He was honoured as Canada’s Family Physician of the Year in 1975.
Dr. Halliday had a firm conviction that a physician should take an active part in municipal and community affairs. He was an elder in Knox United Church in Tavistock; Past President of the Rotary Club of Tavistock; member of the Tavistock Men’s Club and Board of Trade; member and former Chairman of the Tavistock Public School Board. He was active with the World Crokinole Championships and spearheaded the formation of the Tavistock and District Historical Society in 2005. He has been inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame (1995).
He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons from the Ontario riding of Oxford in the 1974 federal election. A Progressive Conservative, he was re-elected four times in 1979, 1980, 1984, and 1988. During 5 years of that time he chaired the federal parliamentary standing committee on human rights and the disabled. His committee released eight ground-breaking reports. ‘Obstacles’, a report issued in 1981, later formed the basis of the federal government’s disability policy. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind later noted that ‘. . .[in] over two decades in public and private life on behalf of disabled persons, Dr. Halliday . . will be remembered for his ability to bring together disabled persons, politicians and bureaucrats toward a common cause . . . [and] . . . has set a pace that has left an enduring legacy in Canadian society’. He was also the 2004 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians.
Bruce was predeceased by his first wife, the former Janet McGhie on February 18, 1983. He is survived by his second wife, the former Elizabeth Alice Vander Spek, whom he married on April 18, 1984; three children, Kathryn and husband Dan Cressman of Plattsville, Mark Halliday and Andrea Halliday, both of Tavistock; one granddaughter, Lydia Cressman; one brother, Dr. Ian and wife Norma Halliday of Ottawa; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Cornelius and Alice Vander Spek of R.R. #2, Tavistock, and several ''Vander Spek'' brothers-in-law and sisters-in- law and their families.
Bruce was an active member of Tavistock Rotary since 1956. In his 54 years in Tavistock Rotary, he served as President in 1957-8, chaired the publication of Facts and Fantasy, a History of Tavistock & District, published in 1967, named a Paul Harris fellow in 1982, attended many Rotary International Conventions in various locations throughout the world and almost all Rotary District Conferences in 7080.
Bruce remained a very faithful member of The Rotary Club of Tavistock during his years serving as MP in Ottawa. Quite often Bruce would leave for Ottawa "after" the regular Rotary meeting in Tavistock in order to be in the House on Tuesday mornings. Bruce had perfect Club Attendance until his recent illness. As well Bruce and his family hosted many International Youth Exchange students over the years. Robin Wilson was the first student to be hosted in Tavistock by the Halliday's and she has remained close to the family since 1970.
Bruce loved being a Rotarian and was very proud of the work accomplished over the years in Tavistock.