A not-for-profit society,
The Western Canada Dental Society
hosts an annual
Meeting and Curling Bonspiel
proceeds of which fund dental student scholarships and bursaries in the four western provinces.
The Western Canada Dental Society (WCDS) was founded in the early 1900’s by dentists in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. They wanted to assure they would have access to quality dental education on a regular basis and decided to organize a formal dental meeting every few years.
These regular meetings eventually evolved into a biennial dental convention. Unfortunately, as continuing education opportunities expanded in the 1970’s the need for the WCDS Convention diminished. A harbinger of things to come was the cancellation of the 25th annual meeting planned for Winnipeg in 1981. A meeting was held in Jasper in 1983 (a classic in the minds of many) and the last WCDS Convention was held in Saskatoon in 1985.
In 1968, a curling bonspiel was established by many of the dentists who regularly attended the WCDS Convention. This annual bonspiel and seminar increased in popularity over the years and eventually replaced biennial WCDS Convention.
Education and the support of education for dental students have always been the main goal of the WCDS. Over the years, several endowments have been created for dental students at the four Western Canadian Universities with Dental Programs – University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta and University of British Columbia.
In 1980, the WCDS established the Dr. Cal Waddell Memorial Scholarship in honour of a prominent Calgary dentist and former WCDS president. This annual scholarship awards $1,500 to one dental student in each of the four Western Canadian University Dental Programs.
In 2018, the WCDS created the WCDS Student Fellowship which also awards $1,500 to one dental student in each of the four Western Canadian University Dental Programs.
In total, the WCDS is responsible for annually funding over $25.000 in University Endowments and Direct Funded Scholarships for Dental Students in Western Canada.
The Annual Western Canada Dental Society Seminar and Bonspiel brings together dentists and other allied dental professionals from all over Western Canada. It allows dental professionals an opportunity to get together to learn and participate in a non-judgmental, fun environment. The collegiality and camaraderie are second to none and many lifelong friendships have been created. Fellowship is paramount at this event and evidence of this is the presentation of the annual Walter Hancock, George Peacock, Ken Martin, Steve Yaholnitsky Fellowship Award at the closing banquet. This award is named in honour of four larger than life dentists from Saskatchewan who truly embraced the spirit of the WCDS.
To quote Dr. Terry Donovan:
“God Bless the Western Canada Dental Society”