Colourful ‘Dr. Mike’ has seen the world, now calls Lindsay home

By William McGinn

Dr. Mike has delivered over 8,000 babies. Photo: William McGinn.

One of the first things I learned after meeting Dr. Michael Joseph Moreton is that he likes to be referred to as Dr. Mike. It’s a tradition that began in Asia, where he has decades of work history, and it’s a moniker he carried back home with him.

Dr. Mike, his son Christian, and Christian’s two daughters, Olivia and Alexa, are all under the same roof in Lindsay. The family of four moved to Kawartha Lakes in September 2020. If anyone ever drops by their place, the retired doctor will have plenty of stories to share, as I heard over tea at his Lindsay home.

The doctor first came to Canada in 1966 from Wirral, England, for three years as part of an exchange program at McGill University. He has travelled, lived and worked across Canada, in Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa, and across the world, including in China, Bermuda, Thailand, the U.S., Cambodia and Mongolia, getting by on what English the locals knew.

His specialty is obstetrics — he has delivered over 8,000 babies — and one of his proudest achievements was being part of the opening of the first Westernized maternity units in China.

Dr. Mike never had a burning desire to go to China but went in 1997 because of an amalgamation drive by Ontario Premier Mike Harris that forced the closure of many smaller hospitals. That move cost Dr. Mike his job. He sent out about 30 CVs before getting the call that would see him leave for the Middle Kingdom.

Working in all these countries in various cultures and traditions has broadened his mind, he says. “My favourite line of poetry is from Kipling: ‘What knows he of England that only England knows?’ In other words, if you only know your own country, you don’t know your own country because you have nothing by which to compare it.”

He was even the doctor on call for The Rolling Stones for a few days. The night before the band was to play in Shanghai, where he worked at the time, their regular doctor had a family emergency, so Moreton took over. He said Mick Jagger was “the fittest 62-year-old I have ever seen.” Dr. Mike has also been the doctor for several well-known actors.

After working throughout Asia for almost 20 years, Dr. Mike returned from Cambodia in 2016 to live with his son and granddaughters in Toronto before they decided to settle in Lindsay last year.

Christian told the Advocate, “I’m very proud (of what my dad has done) and it’s nice to have him settled in now, because we missed him when he was abroad.”

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