At our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday April 5, our featured speaker was Richard Jordan presenting Ernest D. Banting and Life in Weston 1921-1973.
Ernest D. “Doc” Banting (1892-1973) was deeply involved in small town sports, municipal politics, the Orange Order, the effects of the Depression, the birth of Canada’s unemployment system, the role of service clubs like the Lions and, last but not least, temperance.
As we learned, “Doc” Banting was a salesman, a politician … and a bit of a rogue. A distant cousin to Dr. Frederick Banting, discoverer of Insulin, “Doc” was a shameless self-promoter, but a constant home-town booster in a career that spanned the 1920s to the 1970s.
The “Doc’ was an honorific title gained from his connection to his large Banting family of Cookstown, Ontario. He started his career in sales and ended up focused on politics. His attempt to move from town Councillor to Mayor never succeeded. His political aspirations led him to join The Orange Lodge and the Conservative party riding association as he felt this was necessary to advance in politics..
Ernest was deeply involved with sports, which started as a hockey player. He helped with the town school teams, beginning as lacrosse coach. This ultimately led to the creation of a town sports association. His response to the Depression included forming a Workingmen’s Club for the unemployed. The War years brought the security of unemployment insurance for its residents and, afterwards, Weston’s Lions Club built an arena and a swimming pool. He was truly a town booster.
Overall, Ernest Banting was a surprisingly versatile individual with many talents. He focused these talents on support for his town and of causes that meant something to him.
We won’t spoil the surprise ending of the presentation. Suffice it to say the presenter has an unexpected direct connection to Ernest D. Banting.