Kilby Historic Site is excited about its latest exhibit, Honouring the Life of Maud Menten.
One of Harrison Mills first European settlers were Captain William Menten and his wife Emma who arrived in 1890. In 1896 Emma Menten moved her store from Lot 10A to a site immediately east of the Martin mill in order to compete with a new store by the railway opened by Laurie and David Galbraith. Meanwhile, Captain Menten built a small sternwheeler called the Minto to carry passengers between Chilliwack and Harrison Mills. This increased the traffic coming across the Fraser River from Chilliwack and spurred business in the town.
A school and church were built in 1901 to meet the needs of the expanding town. Before this, children had to cross the river by boat to go to school. This was how Maud Menten, perhaps Harrison Mills’ most famous resident, was educated.
Dr. Maud Lenora Menten (1879-1960) famed for the discovery of the Michaelis-Menten equation, was raised in Harrison Mills, BC and graduated from Chilliwack Secondary School in 1897. She was one of the first few female physicians in Canada, and was the first woman to receive a Medical Doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1911. She held three PhD’s in Medicine, Physiology and Biochemistry respectively, and dedicated her long career to life saving medical research in fields largely dominated by men. She was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 1998.
Over the past two summers Nina Payne was a summer student here at the Kilby Historic Site. Nina studies Biology in the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia and had learned of the Michaelis-Menten equation during her academic studies. This, along with a keen passion for the history and promotion of female scientists prompted her research into former Harrison Mills local and Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Maud Menten, culminating in an exhibit honouring her life and prolific career.
“It was a perfect match for the collection of artifacts we have on loan from Susan Justice, Maud Menten’s niece, who now lives on Vancouver Island” says Jo-Anne Leon. “Maud Menten was a women & scholar far ahead of her time. It is an honour to have this exhibit on site to share with the public.”