Fraser Mustard, M.D. 1927 - 2011

Medical Pioneer and Champion of Early Learning

Plaque located at: 422 Sumach Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

Most doctors heal you when you are sick. Doctor Mustard could foretell your future.

A most unconventional man!!

Dr. Fraser Mustard, a Canadian physician and scientist, was born in Toronto, Ontario. He attended Whitney Public School and in 1953 he earned a medical degree from the University of Toronto. During his varsity football days he was known as “Moose”.

In the 1950s and 60s his heart research focused on blood platelets, arterial disease and, believe it or not, the effects of Aspirin.

In 1966 he criticized the Canadian government for their research funding practices. Many medical doctors graduating from Canadian universities were going to the United States due to the lack of research funding. As such, there was a need for many more doctors to graduate in order to maintain the standard of research and Canadian healthcare. It was at this time that he became a founding member of the McMaster University Faculty of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario. This huge network, built at this time, linked researchers in social health, education, economics and high tech fields like robotics – a model that has been copied all over the world.

Dr. Mustard’s interests shifted to early childhood education research where he influenced decision-makers all over the world. His early years’ studies report emphasized the promotion of early child development centres for young children and parents. He recommended that the government boost spending on early education and that programs should be available to all income levels in order to develop healthy, confident children and adults. His message was to convey the incredible importance of a child’s experiences in the first six years of life. Interventions in these early years can set-up a child for life. He said, “These years last a lifetime. The challenge for all societies is to close the gap between what we know about the determinants of early child development and what we do.”

Fraser Mustard said, “That’s all education is. It’s just getting the architecture and the function of the brain set.”

In 1982 he became the founding president of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) where he spent fourteen years doing research. In 1993 he was awarded the Royal Bank Outstanding Service to Canada award for setting up CIFAR, which is considered one of the best think-tanks and research centres in Canada.

Dr. Fraser Mustard has left a legacy. About four months before his death, his followers came to his home to further discuss his works. While working in his living room, the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development was designed. The University of Toronto has officially launched the institute.

“Fraser Mustard will be remembered as the great renaissance man of Canadian intellectual life. He was an absolute giant, who had a huge impact on his country, and a man of unflagging curiosity and great generosity of spirit”. (University of Toronto former President David Naylor).

Dr. Mustard’s findings paved the way to create a province-wide full-day kindergarten program. He will always be remembered for his medical and educational achievements.


  • A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1976
  • In 1985 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1993 he was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada
  • In 1988 University of Toronto awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Order of Ontario in 1992
  • Inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2003
  • Recipient of fifteen honorary degrees

A biography of his life written by Marian Packham, entitled J. Fraser Mustard: Connections and Careers, was published in 2010.

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