Banting House National Historic Site

333 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

4/5

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Things to do

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Date of travel

July, 2019

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Product country

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Travelled with

Adult family

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The “Banting House National Historic Site”:https://bantinghousenhsc.wordpress.com/, the birthplace of insulin, is just to the east of downtown London, Ontario. The local branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association resides in the new addition at the back of the house. However, the original house where Sir Frederick Banting, the discoverer of insulin, lived and worked is open to the public as a museum.

Before you enter the house you can see Banting’s statue which was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1989, along with The Flame of Hope, an eternal flame which will not be extinguished until a cure is found for diabetes. The doctor or doctors who find the cure will have the honour of extinguishing the flame. Also in the garden is a large globe under which was buried a time capsule in 1991 by Youth of the International Diabetes Federation to be opened whenever a cure is found. A modern art installation on the side of the house depicts Banting’s hypothesis scratched out in the early hours of the morning of October 31, 1920 when he awoke with the idea in his mind for a cure for diabetes. Although insulin isn’t a cure it has saved countless lives as a treatment until a cure can be found. For his co-discovery (with Professor J.J.R. Macleod) he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1923.

The house is not large and we, a small group of six, received a personal tour through the home. The guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about his subject. We learned about Banting’s life and career as a doctor, his travels in northern Canada, his work as a doctor during WWI and his mysterious death in a plane crash in Newfoundland.

What I didn’t know about Banting is that he was also a painter. Some of his artwork is on display in the house. He got to know the Group of Seven artists and you can definitely see the difference between his artwork before and after he met them. I prefer his prior work. The last room on the tour is the gift shop upstairs where we paid for the tour and checked out the range of products including copies of Banting’s artwork.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors/students, $3 for children aged 5-12. There is a large pay and display parking lot behind the house. The website mentions a small free parking lot next to the house but it only has two spots. The site is open from noon – 4:00 pm Tuesday to Friday and opens an hour earlier on the weekend. In the summer it opens at 11:00 am from Tuesday to Saturday.

Denise Bridge

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