Banting House

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Banting House NHSC
Banting House July 2013(retouched).jpg
Banting House in 2013
Location442 Adelaide Street North
London, Ontario
N6B 3H8
CuratorGrant Maltman
WebsiteBanting House NHSC
Official nameNational Historic Site of Canada
TypeMunicipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
DesignatedAugust 2, 1983[1]

Banting House is known as "The Birthplace of Insulin." Located at 442 Adelaide Street North in London, Ontario, Canada, it is the house where Sir Frederick Banting woke up at two o'clock in the morning on October 31, 1920 with the idea that led to the discovery of insulin.[2]

Since 1984, the house has been a museum dedicated to Banting's discovery and his life.[3] An addition at the back houses the London & District Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association.[4] For many that have been touched by diabetes, the house is an emotional reminder of Banting's scientific contribution that saved their lives or the lives of their loved ones.[5]


Banting lived at the house in London for ten months, beginning in June, 1920. He attempted a private medical practice and when it was unsuccessful, he began working at the University of Western Ontario; his research for a lecture there was what inspired his 25 word idea that provided the key to discovering insulin, and prevented the certain death of those affected by diabetes. Banting returned to the University of Toronto to begin his research on insulin in the spring of 1921.[5][6]

Banting House is dedicated to the story behind the discovery of insulin, as well as Banting's life and career. Its galleries focus on everything from his time spent in London, to his contributions in both World Wars, to his efforts as an artist. Some notable artifacts include Banting's original art, desk, medicine cabinet, and bed frame, as well as his Military Cross, the KBE, and his official replica of the Nobel Prize.[5][7][8] Banting House was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1997.[6][4]


For decades, the public viewed the house as the "Birthplace of Insulin," and many individuals expressed their desire to have it turned into a shrine or monument to honour the Canadian hero. It was first internationally referred to with the title "Birthplace of Insulin," in 1923, by the Detroit Free Press.[9][10] After 47 years, the house received official recognition in 1970, in the form of a plaque for the house, awarded by the London Public Library Board.[11] In 1981, the London & District Branch of the Canadian Diabetes Association purchased the house, and began to use it as an office; they hoped to eventually restore the house, and turn it into a museum.[10] Through various grants and fundraising efforts, by 1984, the museum was operational.[3]

Museum features[edit]

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the unveiling ceremony of the Flame of Hope in July 1989
The statue of Frederick Banting outside Banting House

Banting House features archival materials, artifacts, and other ephemera associated with Banting as co-discoverer of insulin, doctor, and artist, as well as his involvement in the first and second world wars.

One gallery depicts the kind of office Banting might have had, and contains several of his belongings, including his original medicine cabinet, and a graduated cylinder Banting used during his time at the University of Western Ontario.[5][12] The apothecary in the next room features a sink that Banting installed for his medical practice. Other galleries in the museum hold original belongings of Banting as well, most notably his desk and his bed frame. The bed frame is kept in Banting's bedroom, and visitors are encouraged to take a moment or a picture with it, as it is not roped off like many other areas of the museum.

Additionally, an official replica of the Nobel Prize medal co-awarded to Banting and Macleod is on display, as well as many of Banting's other medals. Other displays include the military gallery, which includes a representation of the type of operating room Banting would have worked in on the field during the First World War, some information on the projects he headed during the Second World War, and an entire gallery filled with artwork done by Banting.[5]

Adjacent to the museum is Sir Frederick G. Banting Square, a garden with several information plaques, and three main attractions. Two of the attractions, a full-sized sculpture of Banting writing his life-altering idea down, and the Flame of Hope, were unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The Flame of Hope, symbolizing the hope for a final cure for diabetes, was kindled by Her Majesty during her visit.[13][14] The third attraction is the globe sculpture, which was added more recently in 2010. It represents Canada's gift to the world, and embraces Banting House's visitors from abroad, with the names of every country listed on it.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ City of London. "Inventory of Heritage Resources 2006" (PDF). City of London. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  2. ^ "The Birth of an Idea". Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "'Insulin birthplace' finally honoured". London Free Press, October 31, 1984
  4. ^ a b Banting House. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  5. ^ a b c d e Burden, George. "Banting House a Touching Tribute to Medical Hero". Medical Post, April 10, 2007
  6. ^ a b Banting House National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 2005-11-30.
  7. ^ "Captain Banting: War Hero". Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  8. ^ "Frederick Grant, Artist". Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Birthplace of Insulin". Detroit Free Press, December 9, 1923
  10. ^ a b "Banting home in London memorial to insulin hero". Toronto Star, May 12, 1982
  11. ^ "Banting House gets $22,367 Wintario Grant". London Free Press, May 10, 1983
  12. ^ "Banting's beaker finds a more public home". Western News, May 27, 2010
  13. ^ "She's late but 4,000 wait to say hello to Queen mum". London Free Press, July 8, 1989
  14. ^ "Sir Frederick G. Banting Square". Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "Work that sparked insulin celebrated". London Free Press.

External links[edit]

  • Banting House – Canadian Diabetes Association, museum information

Coordinates: 42°59′24″N 81°13′55″W / 42.99000°N 81.23194°W / 42.99000; -81.23194