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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
H. L. McInnis, M.D., C.M.


There are many who accord to the medical profession the foremost place among all the great lines of activity which claim the attention and effort of men, believing that there is no greater field into which an individual may enter. The profession in Edmonton has always been well represented by men of capability and of marked devotion to high ethical standards, and to this class belongs Dr. H. L. McInnis, who is one of the alumni of Manitoba University and who throughout his career has kept in close touch with the trend of modern professional thought and progress. He was born in St. John, New Brunswick, October 13, 1862, a son of John L. McInnis, an educator in the Fredericton Collegiate Institute, and was reared in the city of his birth. After he had mastered the branches of learning taught in the common schools he attended the Fredericton Collegiate Institute, thus completing his more specifically literary course. He then decided to engage in medical practice as a life work and matriculated as a medical student in Manitoba, graduating with the class of 1886, with honors.

Having won his diploma and his degree, Dr. McInnis located at Indian Head, Saskatchewan, where he continued in active practice until October 28, 1886, when, traveling by means of the old stagecoach line, he came to Edmonton, casting in his lot with the pioneer physicians of this city. He has always been actuated by a spirit of enterprise and progress and in order to keep thoroughly conversant with the latest researches and discoveries having to do with medical practice, he went abroad in 1889, studying for a year and a half in Vienna under some of the most eminent physicians and surgeons in that center of medical learning and for six months in London. He did postgraduate work in both cities and in December, 1892, returned to Edmonton, where he practiced most successfully until 1912. He specialized largely in surgery and his eminent skill in this field was widely acknowledged. His practice has brought him many and varied experiences. On one occasion he made a famous ride, leaving Edmonton at six o'clock, and at ten o'clock the next morning reached his destination, having covered one hundred and thirty-five miles with a two- wheel cart. This indicates something of what the early physicians had to contend with in their practice when the province of Alberta was a frontier district but sparsely settled. It was no unusual thing for Dr. McInnis to make one-hundred-mile trips in the winter time and no call for professional service involved too many hardships for him to respond. He continued in the active work of the profession, enjoying an extensive practice, until 1912, when he retired from his chosen field of labor and has since given his attention to the supervision of his city property and timber interests. For a number of years he has also prospected for oil and the Fabin oil well is on his property. He also located the Tar Island wells in the Peace River country, in 1912. He has been very prominent in the search for oil and in the development of fields that have been found and has always felt assured that oil was to be obtained in its natural state in this country. In 1902 he organized the McInnis Lumber Company, operating a sash and door factory which was profitably carried on until the winter of 1914, when Dr. McInnis sold out. He served as assistant surgeon with the Canadian forces during the Riel Rebellion of 1885 and was in the Patoche fight. He also acted as a captain in the Canadian Medical Corps during the Great war.

Throughout his life he has rendered signal service to his fellowmen in various ways. He has been identified with the administration of public office and has ever displayed marked fidelity to the general good, supporting many interests and projects which have constituted measures of civic virtue and of civic pride. He was alderman of Edmonton for four years and was instrumental in securing the passage of an amendment to the city charter for the establishment of water and sewerage systems. This was adopted, furnishing the city with much better facilities in those directions. Dr. McInnis also labored resultantly in connection with the building of sidewalks in the wholesale districts of Edmonton. The old walks were abandoned and the new ones were put in the middle of the streets, thus doing away with a sidewalk where the teams are loading and unloading in the wholesale districts. His entire official service was marked by a progressiveness that looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the needs and the opportunities of the future.

In his fraternal relations Dr. McInnis is a Mason and an Odd Fellow. In the former he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish; Rite and has also filled various offices. Edmonton has no more honored, respected or valued citizen than Dr. H. L. McInnis.


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