Author to present lecture, slide show at historical society event

Born in Drayton in 1882 and raised in nearby Harriston, Dr. John Gerald FitzGerald was to many – like his friends Frederick Banting and Charles Best – a Canadian hero.


His vaccines saved untold lives, and he transformed the idea of public health in Canada and the world.

His grandson, James FitzGerald, on May 7 for the Mapleton Historical Society, will present a 60 minute lecture and slide show at the PMD Arena, detailing  John FitzGerald’s life.

Based on James’ forthcoming book, What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son’s Quest to Redeem the Past, the presentation will focus on what so darkened John’s reputation that his memory has been “all but erased.”

Tragically and mysteriously, on June 20, 1940, John took his own life at age 57 at the peak of his professional success.

As a boy watching his own father, also an eminent doctor, plunge into a suicidal psychosis, James intuits some unspeakable secret buried deep in the family unconscious.

Growing into manhood, he knows he must stalk an ancient curse before it stalks him. To set himself free, he must break the silence and put words to the page.

His future lies in the past.

About James FitzGerald

Born and raised in Toronto, James was educated at Upper Canada College and Queen’s University, where he studied English and psychology.

He has spent 35 years in the fields of journalism and book publishing; as a freelance writer, he has contributed to a variety of Newspapers and magazines.

James’ first book, Old Boys: The Powerful Legacy of Upper Canada College was a controversial inside look at the attitudes of Canada’s ruling class.

Composed as an oral history, his 300 interview subjects included such prominent Canadian figures as Robertson Davies, Conrad Black, Michael Ignatieff, Ted Rogers, Michael Snow, Peter Newman, David Thomson and John Eaton. 

Revelations of the sexual abuse of boys at the school, first published in the book, led to the charging and conviction of three former teachers and the launching of a class action suit against UCC in 2002.

The Toronto Life article that sparked What Disturbs Our Blood won a Gold National Magazine Award in 2002.  

On May 7 James FitzGerald will present a lecture and slide show, drawn from his forthcoming book, for the Mapleton Historical Society. The presentation will follow the society’s annual general meeting, which is set to begin at 7:30pm in the PMD Arena hall. For more information on the author visit