Response By

Vivian McAlister

George Russell Dartnell The Gaol and Courthouse, London, Canada West, about 1841

watercolour on paper Art Fund, 1948


Castles of old, built to control a hostile area, dissolve eventually into their environment. London’s Courthouse, echoing Colonel Talbot’s birthplace, surprised travellers as they emerged from the surrounding dark forests: despite the mud and tree stumps, we will thrive. Here, First Nations met for millennia. Here, Londoners were appalled as Sparta’s Joshua Doan and the rebels of 1837 were brutally hanged. Here, Londoners filed away the Donnelly story and other injustices. But it is still here, anchor of our environment.

Dr. Vivian McAlister is a surgeon at University Hospital London with expertise in hepatobiliary, endobiliary, transplant, and combat surgery. He was the Angus D. McLachlin Professor of Surgery at Western University. Vivian was also a regular force member of the Royal Canadian Medical Service, Canadian Armed Forces, and has deployed overseas many times.