Introduction of Visitors and Statement – George Leslie Mackay’s Birthday

March 21, 2016

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise to introduce a number of special guests who are here today to celebrate what would have been George Leslie Mackay’s 172nd birthday. In the gallery today, I’m honoured to have Director General Hsu from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, as well as representatives from the Canadian Mackay Committee, Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto, Taiwan Entrepreneurs Society Taipei/Toronto, Taiwan Merchants Association of Toronto, Taiwanese Canadian Community Service Association, Formosa Evergreen Senior Citizens Centre, Taiwanese United Church in Toronto, Global Asian Business Federation of Canada, Young Taiwanese Merchants Association of Toronto, Taiwan Macroview Television, and many others. I want to welcome them all to Queen’s Park and thank them for being here today to recognize the former life of George Leslie Mackay.

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: On behalf of the people of Oxford and the Ontario PC caucus, I’m pleased to rise to recognize the contribution of Oxford’s George Leslie Mackay on what would have been his 172nd birthday.

Mackay was born and raised in Zorra, part of Oxford county, but most people agree that the island of Formosa, now Taiwan, was his home. It was where he married and raised a family. It was where he made a significant contribution to health care and education that lives on to this day.

Mackay travelled to Taiwan as a missionary 1871. He quickly fell in love with the island and embraced the culture, spending 16 hours a day studying the language. Mackay had an unusual method of outreach: practising dentistry. Over 30 years, he claimed, he pulled as many as 40,000 teeth. He returned to visit Oxford, and while in Canada raised money to help in Taiwan. When he returned, he built a hospital, a boarding school for girls, a middle school and Oxford College. The college is now a museum dedicated to Mackay, “the black-bearded barbarian.”

His legacy lives on to this day. In 2001, Taiwan issued a commemorative postage stamp that marked the centenary of his death, and there is now a modern Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, a long way from the clinic he started 150 years ago.

As MPP for Oxford, I am also proud of another legacy he created: a strong relationship between Oxford and Taiwan, a legacy we honour by continuing and growing our friendship.

Thank you very much for allowing me to present this today.