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Bethune Memorial House National Historic Site of Canada

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 Dr. Bethune wearing his Royal Navy uniform in 1917
Dr. Bethune wearing his Royal Navy uniform in 1917.
Bethune served as a Lieutenant-Surgeon aboard H.M.S. Pegasus. During this time he survived the deadly Spanish Influenza. He was demobilized at the beginning of 1919.

© Parks Canada

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Norman Bethune enlisting in World War One

August 1 to August 31, 2014-100 Years a Hero, Norman Bethune’s Three Tours of Duty in the First World War.

August 4, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Canada joining World War I and the day that Dr. Norman Bethune volunteered for service. Bethune Memorial House will present an exhibit of Bethune’s involvement in the Great War throughout the month of August. Entry to the exhibit is included with regular admission fee.

Dr. Bethune is internationally renowned as a Canadian physician and social activist, especially for his front-line contributions in Spain and China in the 1930s. His first encounter with the battlefront, however, came during the First World War.

In 1914, his medical study at University of Toronto was interrupted by the outbreak of the Great War. Soon following the declaration of war, Bethune enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and served in the extremely dangerous role of stretcher bearer until wounded by shrapnel from an exploding shell at Ypres, in Belgium. He then returned to Canada to complete a medical degree. His experience in war, however, did not dissuade him from further military service. In 1917 he joined the Royal Navy and later became the first medical officer of the newly created Canadian Air Force.


Private Guided Tours of The Birthplace of a Hero!

Private Guided Tour
Private Guided Tour
© Parks Canada

Treat your group to a Private Guided Tour of Bethune Memorial! This 2 hour experience includes a personalized, fully guided tour, exclusive to just your group. With your own personal guide, you will explore the exhibits, statues and stories displayed in the newly constructed Visitor Centre; take part in a full tour of the 1890s historic house--birthplace of Dr. Bethune--with opportunities to handle some of the historic objects there; take photos together on the picturesque grounds; and view a ten minute biographical video on Bethune. Upon reservation, this entire program is available in English, French and Mandarin Chinese. Your tour starts off with a Chinese tea welcome, as you meet your guide and the story begins. Explore the roots of this Canadian Hero!

By reservation; program fee applies.

Contact the site for more information.


New Books

Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune Promotional Flyer for Phoenix by Rod Stewart and Sharon Stewart

Phoenix: The Life of Norman Bethune by Roderick Stewart and Sharon Stewart was recently finished after ten years of extensive research. In this book, the authors provided the intriguing details of Bethune’s career as a surgeon, his personal life, his passion and pioneering commitment to the improvement of medical care in Canada and around the world.

Norman Bethune by Adrienne Clarkson Norman Bethune by Adrienne Clarkson
© Parks Canada

A series of Extraordinary Canadians: Norman Bethune by Adrienne Clarkson

Canadian former governor general Adrienne Clarkson’s new book on Norman Bethune was recently published in spring 2009. She described this complicated man by showing how every stage of Bethune’s life prepared him for what followed.

The Politics of Passion: Norman Bethune's Writing and Art by Larry Hannant was published in 1998 and has just been published in French.

Please contact us regarding the purchase of these books directly from the site.