Fonds 1590 - J. Fraser Mustard fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1590


J. Fraser Mustard fonds


  • 1947-2011; predominant 1980-2011 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

15.86 m of textual records (117 boxes)
417 photographs
238 slides (35 mm)
45 digital files (165 MB)
20 objects (awards and medals)
7 cassette tapes; 18 Videos ; 2 DVDs ; 1 audio CD

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

James Fraser Mustard (16 Oct 1927 – 16 Nov 2011) was a prominent Canadian physician and scientist. His later career also focused on promoting interdisciplinary, cross-university research, advocating for early childhood development and encouraging policy makers to consider the social determinants of health.

Education and early medical research

Dr. Mustard attended Whitney Public School in Toronto (1932-38) and the University of Toronto Schools (1938-1946). After his First Year Honour Course in Science at Victoria College (1946/47) he received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1954. In 1953/54 he served as Junior Intern at the Toronto General Hospital before moving to Cambridge, where he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge. He then returned to Toronto, where he was a Senior Intern at Sunnybrook Hospital (1956/57).

It was as a research fellow at U of T’s Department of Medicine (1957-1961) that Dr. Mustard’s team discovered that Aspirin could have positive effects on heart disease and reduce the risk of heart attacks. His 1958 essay “A study of the relationship between lipids, blood coagulation and atherosclerosis” won the Royal College of Physicians of Canada Medal. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in 1965.

McMaster University

In 1966, Dr. Mustard was a founding member of the McMaster University Faculty of Medicine. The new Faculty embraced an innovative pedagogy that encouraged problem-based approaches to learning and had students working in small groups, rather than attending large lectures. At McMaster, Dr. Mustard served as the first chairman of the Department of Pathology (1966-1968) and in 1972 became Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

CIAR and Founders’ Network

In 1982, Dr. Mustard established the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR, later CIFAR) and served as its first president. The CIAR was established as an independent research institution (not affiliated with any particular university) that promoted and supported multi-disciplinary research projects. CIAR projects covered a wide range research interests, including robotics, population health and economic growth. When he left as President of CIAR in 1996, Dr. Mustard then founded and headed the Founders’ Network, an “international collection of people interested in promoting CIFAR, science and technology, early childhood, economic issues, determinants of health and human development.”

Early Childhood Education

The latter years of Dr. Mustard’s career were primarily focused on promoting successful approaches to early childhood education (especially during the pre-kindergarten years) and disseminating research on the social determinants of health to policy makers, academics, community groups and the public. In this capacity, he made hundreds of visits each year to conferences, community groups and government meetings. His most significant contribution is his authoring of the Early Years Report for Ontario (1999), which helped to shape current approaches to early childhood education (including the introduction of full-day, play-based kindergarten). The report led to the creation of the Council for Early Childhood Education, which Dr. Mustard chaired for its entire existence, from 2004-2010.

International: Aga Khan University and Australia

Dr. Mustard worked with organizations and governments across the globe, including in Latin America, Pakistan and Australia. Dr. Mustard served on the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University (AKU) since its inception in the early 1980s and was a member of its Chancellor’s Commission from 1992-1995. Throughout the 2000s, Dr. Mustard worked closely with various Australian organizations and governments, primarily on issues of human development and early childhood education. He served as ‘Thinker in Residence’ in Adelaide, South Australia from 2006-2007, advising the government on these matters.

Other organizations and companies

In addition to these primary commitments, Dr. Mustard sat on countless advisory boards and boards of directors for public and private organizations addressing a broad range of concerns, including health and medicine, education, and energy. Dr. Mustard was Chair of the first Board of Directors of the Institute for Work and Health (1990-1999) and has played a key role in several corporations, including as Director (1995-2001) and Chairman (1997-1999) of fuel cell developers, Ballard Power Systems.

Awards and accomplishments

Dr. Mustard is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1976). Among his many awards, Dr. Mustard won the Sir John William Dawson Medal (1993), Royal Bank Award (1993), Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association (2001), and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Lawson Foundation (2005). He was appointed to the Order of Ontario (1992), made an Officer of the Order of Canada (1985) and later promoted to Companion in 1993. He has honorary degrees from 23 universities and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2003. A number of chairs and lectures are named in his honour.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the records of Dr. Fraser Mustard, documenting his long and varied career in health, medicine and education, and his work building interdisciplinary, cross-university institutions for research and advocacy. The contents of the fonds primarily document the last 20-30 years of Dr. Mustard’s career, although there is some coverage of his early research and teaching career in medicine. The fonds provides a significant record of the work of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) and Founders’ Network, as well as the Early Years Report, Council for Early Childhood Development (CECD), Aga Khan University and Dr. Mustard’s work in Australia.

Records include correspondence, day planners and itineraries, travel files, meeting notes, presentation slides, news clippings, reports, minutes, outreach material, photographs and other records documenting Dr. Mustard’s speeches, awards and honours, writing, travel, and support for various government initiatives, businesses, academic institutions and community organizations. Evident throughout is Dr. Mustard’s innovative approach to pedagogy and organizational structures, his persistent advocacy, and his insistence that governments and communities adopt strategies to early childhood education that are grounded in sound research.

The fonds also documents some aspects of Dr. Mustard’s personal life, including some family correspondence and records relating to personal events, such as his 75th birthday, the publication of his biography, and his death.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The fonds is organized into series based on the terms used to label the records’ boxes when they first arrived at the Archives. While the fonds includes separate series for CIAR and the Founders’ Network, many records throughout the fonds actually relate to Dr. Mustard’s work with these organizations, especially inasmuch as their support staff performed much of the administrative work involved in coordinating his projects and travel during the last decades of his life.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Confidential project records and correspondence containing evaluative statements about colleagues and students is restricted for 30 years. Some series (3, 10, 13, 14, 16) are restricted on a file-by-file basis. Restricted files are closed for 30 years after the last date of file activity. See the series descriptions and box-file lists for details. Series 1, 2, 4-9, 11, 12 and 15 are open (hence there is no ‘access’ column in the box-file list).

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

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Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Digital files in Series 5 and 8 must be accessed on a computer in the Archives Reading Room. Requests for viewing this material must be made 2 business days in advance, please contact Archives staff to schedule an appointment or for more details.

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

-Edward Safarian (B2006-0030) also worked with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (1991-1997), especially its Economic Growth and Policy Program
-Robert Craig Brown (B2007-0006) wrote Generation of Excellence: A History of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
-John Robert Evans fonds (B2006-0027) includes records relating to the founding of the McMaster Medical School.

Notes area

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