Dr. John Moffatt

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Dr. John Moffat in the mid-1960s.

September 3, 1930 –

When general surgeon Dr. John Moffat, MD., FRCS(C), left his office for the final time — it was a Friday in 1999 — he called it quits on a career that spanned nearly 40 years.

Moffat, then 68, a graduate (1954) of the University of Toronto, set up practice in Galt at 12 Dickson St. in December, 1960, three years after mar- rying Dolores Sprowls.

His impact on the community extended far beyond the operating theatre. He was one of the founders of the annual Can-Amera Games in 1972, and was a founding member of the Galt Rotary Club in 1964.

Can-Amera was, in fact, an offshoot of the Rotary Club. The club had been searching for a way to engage the city’s youth, and the idea of an inter- national Olympic-style games between Galt and Saginaw Township was a natural fit for the Rotary Club. It would go strong for the next 35 years.

“It was more successful than we ever thought it would be,” he said. “We did it to broaden the city’s recreation programs and we thought we would learn something from the experience with Saginaw Township.”

Can-Amera, with Moffat at the helm as chairman for the first several years, accomplished that goal nicely. “I thought we learned a great deal,” he said.

”We saw a lot of things come to the community, including a big reinforcement for local basketball, the John Dolson Pool, and the track at Southwood Secondary School. But if Cambridge broadened its recreational scope because of Can-Amera, so too did Saginaw Township. As a result of the strong presence of soccer in Cambridge, Saginaw Township was able to build its soccer program.

By 2006, said Moffat, Can-Amera had run its course. “There were thousands and thou- sands of people who contributed as financial
backers or as volunteers to the Games. It was fun and I really enjoyed it.”

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Dr. Moffat is pictured shortly before his retirement as a surgeon.

As a yearly Can-Amera tradition, the Moffats would play an annual three-set tennis home and away series on Can-Amera weekend against Saginaw’s Frank Jones and his wife. “There were no prizes, just glory,” mused Moffat.

Born in Hamilton to Jack and Mary Regis (Harris) Moffat– his grandfather William John was a vice principal at Hamilton’s Central Collegiate – Moffat arrived in Galt with his family in February of 1938, attending St. Mary’s school on Beverly St. before going away to boarding school, including De La Salle College, where he graduated in 1948.

He graduated from medical school in 1954, and completed a five-year surgical course at St. Michael’s Hospital and Toronto General in 1960. He and Dolores were married on July 13, 1957, and during the next several years, had six children.

Moffat left Toronto for quieter surroundings, heading to Peterborough for five months “to earn some money.”

Returning to Galt, he set up practice in Dr. Catherwood’s old office in downtown Galt. “I liked the city,” he said. He had few reservations about coming back to Galt, except for one. “These are the people I grew up with,” in 1965-66, served with the Cambridge Community Foundation for 10 years, including a three-year- stint as chairman, and was awarded Cambridge’s Citizen of the Year Award in 1973 by the Civic Service Club.

Moffat served on the Wilfrid Laurier University Board of Directors from 1977 to 1983, including a year as chairman in 1982-83. He was also a director of the Association for the Mentally Retarded in the early to mid-1960s. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people through sport, and that has been a very rewarding experience.”