The Story Of The Rise Of Canadian Cryonics

In the Fall of 1987 Douglas Quinn, then a psychology student at McMaster University, launched the Cryonics Society of Canada (CSC) and CANADIAN CRYONICS NEWS (CCN).

Two years earlier, Doug had become the first Canadian to make arrangements to be cryopreserved in the event of death (signing-up with Alcor Foundation). Doug had also worked at Trans Time for two months during the previous summer (1987), so he was well acquainted with people in the American Cryonics Society, which was then using Trans Time as its service provider. Mike Darwin, President of Alcor, wrote an article attacking Doug & CSC in Alcor's CRYONICS magazine causing Doug to switch his membership from Alcor to ACS.

Doug became President of CSC and Editor of CCN. He mailed press releases to the media in which he cited a Scientific Advisory Board which included four PhDs associated with the American Cryonics Society: Paul Segall, Harold Waitz, Hal Sternberg and Jim Stevenson (Jim Stevenson later switched to Alcor).

As a result of this media blitz, Doug was contacted by Scott Maynard, a biochemistry student at Guelph University who made cryopresevation arrangements with ACS and became the CSC Secretary.

Doug questioned the practicality of permafrost burial. But as President of the Cryonics Society of Canada, he became a lightening-rod for others who were more serious about burial in the permafrost as an alternative to cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen.

In the Spring of 1988 he was contacted by a New Jersey businessman who wanted his recently-deceased father buried in northern Canada. At the businessman's expense, Doug was flown to New Jersey in order to convince the businessman's mother that permafrost burial doesn't violate Christian principles and to help the man in making the arrangements. Doug also acted as an intermediary between the New Jersey businessman and the funeral director in Inuvik (David Hanson) who handled the burial.

The Founding Of The Cryonics Society of Canada

Doug Quinn felt that a major step for cryonics in Canada would be to federally incorporate the CSC as a nonprofit corporation. He wrote the Bylaws and the application himself. Formal application for incorporation was made in March 1989 by the three Canadians: Douglas Quinn, Scott Maynard and Benjamin Best.

After long bureaucratic delays and dialogues with bureaucrats over such silly matters as the existence of a long-defunct organization with the word "crionics" in its name, the Cryonics Society of Canada was finally incorporated in August 1990.

Early Efforts

The first Director's meeting of the incorporated CSC was held on May 5, 1991. Douglas Quinn was elected President, Scott Maynard was elected Secretary, and Ben Best was elected Treasurer. Bruce Waugh (a Toronto lawyer then engaged in a long sign-up process with Alcor) and Richard Potvin (who has since moved to the USA) were added as Directors.

In the early 1990s two Europeans were buried in Yellowknife with good chemical preservation. The Cryonics Society of Canada has not assisted or recommended permafrost burial since that time.

Also in the early 1990s there were vigorous efforts to lobby against British Columbia's law against the marketing of cryonics (passed in 1990), but with no success. A similar piece of legislation was considered in Alberta, but was not implemented.

Fortunately, no other Province (or American State) has followed British Columbia's example -- although the legislation remains in place in BC.

Annual summer parties and winter dinners began being held in Toronto in 1990. From 1991 to 1999 Ben Best was President and Editor of CANADIAN CRYONICS NEWS. He also established this website. Subscriptions/memberships remained at about 60 during the entire period.

CSC after Y2K

Publication of CANADIAN CRYONICS NEWS ceased at the beginning of the year 2000, replaced by a Yahoo-based e-mail discussion group and email distribution list managed by Ken Wolfe, who lives in Winnipeg.

In May, 2001 Guy Desrosiers of Edmonton, Alberta was elected CSC President in the first Annual General Meeting held by e-mail -- the beginning of an attempt to make the Cryonics Society of Canada more national, rather than Toronto-based. When CSC lost contact with Guy early in 2003, Toronto emergency care nurse Christine Gaspar was appointed Interim President just before the May 2003 elections and was officially elected President in May.

Prior to 2002 there had never been a cryonics case carried-out in Ontario. A girl from Quebec had been cryopreserved in the late 1960s by the Cryonics Society of California and a cancer victim in Manitoba had been cryopreserved by Alcor Foundation in the mid-1990s. The only other known cases of Canadians being cryopreserved involved long-dead bodies or brains.

The Toronto Local Group (TLG) had been organized by Toronto CSC members to help with any possible cryonics case. Equipment was being accumulated and there had been trainings. In the Fall of 2002 this group performed a cryonics rescue in Toronto for an elderly woman who was perfused locally and then transferred for long-term cryostorage to the Cryonics Institute facilities in the United States.

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