The Western Canada Dental Society was founded in the early 1900’s by the dentists in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Dentists in those three Provinces wanted to assure themselves that they could obtain high caliber dental education on a regular basis so they decided that a scientific meeting would be held every two years.
Meetings evolved into conventions but they were still held every two years. As opportunities for continuing education expanded in the 1970’s and 80’s the need for a WCDS convention format dwindled. A harbinger of things to come was the cancellation of the 25th Biennial Convention planned for Winnipeg in the summer of 1981. Jasper was the site of the 26th meeting in 1983 (who will ever forget that one) and the last WCDS Convention was held in Saskatoon in 1985.
Prior to the convention days running out, dentists began to organize an educational seminar and bonspiel with the first one in Regina in 1968. The Society is currently planning for the 45th Annual Seminar and Bonspiel in Edmonton in 2013. Many of our members are true regulars that attend each and every year while the society continues to grow by welcoming many new members to each event.
It took British Columbia a long time to decide to join the WCDS as dentists there found ties to Washington State and Oregon satisfied their educational needs. Dr. Elgin Duke spearheaded the effort to have BC join the WCDS. He had success in 1983 when BC formally joined the WCDS.
Education and supporting education has always been at the forefront of WCDS activities. Five thousand dollar grants were provided to the dental faculties in the four Western provinces with the opportunity for the Deans to make an annual award at their own discretion to a deserving student.
In 1980 the WCDS established the Dr. Cal Waddell Memorial Scholarship in memory of a prominent Calgary dentist and a Society Past President. Donations to a fund have allowed a $1,500 scholarship to be presented annually to a dental student entering the last year of the program in each of the four Western faculties. The selected student is to be someone who will likely be involved in organized dentistry upon graduation.
The Western Canada Dental Society is unique. It allows dentists an opportunity to get together to learn and participate in an event without layers of politics or bureaucracy interfering in the fun. Fellowship is the key as evidenced by the trophy presented annually in the memory of fourlarger than life Saskatchewan men: Drs. Walter Hancock, George Peacock, Ken Martin and Steve Yaholnitsky.
To quote Dr. Terry Donovan: “God bless The Western Canada Dental Society”.