Today is World Insulin Day and the founders of the JJR Macleod Memorial Statue Society have more reasons than ever to be excited about the tourism potential of Macleod’s Corner, the city’s popular new attraction in Duthie Park.

The Society’s historical advisor, Dr Ken McHardy, recently presented a talk to the Toronto Medical Historical Club about the life and legacy of the Scottish co-discoverer of insulin, part of a two-day symposium celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology.

“We were delighted by the positive response to the various Macleod lectures and the media coverage the symposium received across the pond,” said Society co-founder John Otto, who has survived the past 50 years with daily injections of insulin.

Despite sharing the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, Professor John Macleod is still largely unknown, particularly in Canada, where he led the team responsible for the one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.

“Staff at Provost Skene’s House report that Canadian visitors often remark that the Macleod exhibit is incorrect. They’ve always been taught that two Canadians discovered insulin, Fred Banting and Charles Best,” said John Otto. “They are gobsmacked to find out that the real hero behind ‘Canada’s Gift to the World’ was actually a Scottish scientist from Aberdeen.”

After decades of misinformation, progress is being made in respect to raising Macleod’s international profile. There are also discussions about mentioning other members of the history-making Toronto team on Macleod’s memorial, including James Collip, who is rarely given credit for his contribution to clinical useful insulin, used for the first time on 23 January, 1922.

Plans are underway for a contingent of Canadians representing the medical establishment to visit Aberdeen in late spring and attend the unveiling of the Toronto Team plaques and 12 bronze path medallions inset along the base of World Insulin Wall.

“Macleod’s Corner has scores of visitors each day and we hope to see even more this spring and summer,” said John Otto. “The memorial and the city’s self-guided Insulin Trail are definitely helping promote Aberdeen as a tourist destination.”

In the words of VisitAberdeenshire Chief Executive Chris Foy, “The city’s historic and contemporary credentials in the life sciences are often key to securing conferences. While the connection with MacLeod and insulin is referenced in our regional narrative, the fact that we now have a way of bringing the story to life will only strengthen those credentials and the attraction of Aberdeen to medical professionals, and anyone with an interest in our city’s contribution to the world.”

A handful of limited edition bronze path medallions are still available for sponsorship; please contact John Otto at for details

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