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MILLER, HUGH, pharmacist, jp, and office holder; b. 2 June 1818 in Inverness, Scotland; m. 8 June 1847 Helen Dow in Whitby, Upper Canada, and they had seven children; d. 24 Dec. 1898 in Toronto.

Hugh Miller immigrated to Upper Canada in 1841 and established himself in Toronto. Having been trained as a pharmacist, he worked briefly for two pharmaceutical firms before opening a retail pharmacy on King Street East. He continued to operate it, enjoying a reasonable success, until his death. For a time two of his sons were associated with him in the practice. The elder, William, was most actively involved, but he died in 1894; Kenneth A. had left pharmacy in the early 1880s.

Besides operating his business, Miller was prominent in the establishment and administration of various organizations of Ontario pharmacists. During the 1860s, following the lead of their colleagues in Britain and the United States, pharmacists in the Canadas had begun to move towards formal associations in order to counter threats from the medical profession to their accustomed freedoms. Miller was a founding member and vice-president of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Society, established in 1867 in Toronto to press the new federal government for legislation which would create a regulatory and professional association. By the autumn of 1868 it had become evident that such legislation would not be quickly forthcoming, and the CPhS turned to the provincial government for help. Miller and a handful of colleagues were selected to draft pharmacy legislation, which became the Ontario Pharmacy Act of 1871.

The act created the Ontario College of Pharmacy as a regulatory body with the power to issue licences to those entitled to practise under the act and allowed physicians and surgeons to be licensed as pharmacists without examination. It also outlined the organizational structure of the OCP, empowered it to hold property, and controlled the sale of poisons, the use of titles such as druggist and pharmacist, and the operation of pharmaceutical shops. The college, which until the early part of the 20th century had considerable national importance, also carried responsibility for the education of pharmacists. Its first president was William Elliot. Miller was elected to the council of the OCP at its inception, and he was regularly returned until 1888, serving as president between 1881 and 1883. During his presidency the OCP founded a school of pharmacy, which became affiliated with the University of Toronto in 1892 and an independent faculty of the university in 1953.

Although Miller never ran for political office, he was a staunch supporter of the Liberal party and a confidant of George Brown* and Alexander Mackenzie. He never forgot his homeland, and he was active in a number of Scottish organizations in Toronto, including the St Andrew’s Society, the Sons of Scotland, the Caledonian Society, and the Gaelic Society. He also belonged to the York Pioneer and Historical Society. Described in an obituary as “one of the most esteemed” freemasons in Toronto, he had joined the order in Britain and in Toronto was associated with St Andrew’s Lodge No. 16. During the last 25 years of his life, Miller acted as a justice of the peace, and from about 1894 as an assistant police magistrate. The latter activity, in which he was engaged until the day before his death, earned him wide respect.

Ernst W. Stieb

Canadian Druggist (Strathroy, Ont., and Toronto), 11 (1899): 9. Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal (Toronto), 32 (1898–99): 282. Evening News (Toronto), 27 Dec. 1898. Globe, 26 Dec. 1898. Toronto World, 26 Dec. 1898. Toronto directory, 1843–99. A brief history of pharmacy in Canada, ed. A. V. Raison ([Toronto, 1969]), 70–75. Elizabeth MacNab, A legal history of health professions in Ontario . . . (Toronto, [1970]), 216–43. One hundred years of pharmacy in Canada, 1867–1967, [ed. E. W. Stieb] (Toronto, 1969). B. P. DesRoches, “The first 100 years of pharmacy in Ontario,” Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal, 105 (1972): 225–27. E. W. Stieb, “A century of formal pharmaceutical education in Ontario,” Canadian Pharmaceutical Journal (Ottawa), 116 (1983): 104–7, 153–57; “A professional keeping shop: the nineteenth-century apothecary,” Material Hist. Bull. (Ottawa), 22 (1985): 1–10.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Ernst W. Stieb, “MILLER, HUGH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 12, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 1, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/miller_hugh_12E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/miller_hugh_12E.html
Author of Article: Ernst W. Stieb
Title of Article: MILLER, HUGH
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 12
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1990
Year of revision: 1990
Access Date: October 1, 2014