My first experience with the Banting House came after I elected to commit my senior year “community-based learning” project to creating something in order to help Banting House National Historic Site of Canada advance it’s mandate. My group and I took an inventory of what we had to begin with. Firstly, we had the academic resources offered to us by Huron University College and Western University. After a brief discussion about the project with my friend Anthony Tooton, we also had film equipment and the expertise to use it. The final thing we all agreed upon having was a very general knowledge of the man Sir Frederick Banting was. We knew him only as the man who, sometime in the 1920s, devised the means to extract insulin from the pancreas, effectively developing a treatment for diabetes. Upon touring Banting House with curator Grant Maltman, we found ourselves surprised at the life we never knew Banting lived. Concluding our tour in the Banting bedroom, we were even more astounded to see the life he gave to others. We read cards written to Banting from people who live as far away as the Middle East. So we turned the question to the public. What else did they know about Banting? What did they think they knew? In gauging Banting’s public profile, we hoped to branch out and analyze aspects of our Canadian upbringing. How had Banting’s work affected our historical education? What were the lasting repercussions of Banting’s greatest accomplishment? As our film seeks to answer these questions, it is our hope that it may prompt you to do the same.
This post has been authored by Spencer Banfield, a senior year history student at Huron University College as part of the “community-based” learning program.