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The Origins of the Spectrum Vision Clinic

Spectrum Vision Clinic:  Its Origin and History

A gentleman by the name of Waldren Maxwell began the original practice in St. Stephen in the year 1897. He studied at the Klein School of Optics in Boston. This school evolved into today's New England College of Optometry. He then started to practice in St. Stephen. He used to rent a horse and carriage from the local livery stable and travel around the area supplying needed spectacles.

Waldren moved to Fredericton in 1911 and became the first man in New Brunswick to devote himself solely to the practice of optometry. His son Warren studied optics in 1924 at the Tilden Lens Company in New Hampshire and at the Canadian Ophthalmic College in Toronto. He then entered Columbia University in New York.

In 1926 after graduating from Columbia and passing his N.B. board exams with exceptional marks (having been sponsored by Eli Boyaner, another pioneer of N.B. optometry) he joined his father's optometric practice on York Street under the name "W.W. Maxwell and Son".

During World War II Warren was the only optometrist in central N.B. He worked long hours including tending to the vision care of German P.O.W.'s at the Ripples Camp. When optometrists became registered he received certificate #1.

Waldren Maxwell died in 1948 and Warren Maxwell died in 1974. In November, 1962, Norman Roach purchased the Maxwell practice from Warren Maxwell.

Dr. Roach was born in Watrous, Saskatchewan in 1927, where he attended elementary school. His family moved to Humboldt, Sask. where he attended three years of high school before moving to Regina where he completed high school and took first year pre-medicine at the University of Sask. His original intention was to study psychiatry.

Due to the very heavy enrollment in the university system because of the large number of returning servicemen he decided to work for a couple of years until the situation normalized. He spent the next four years working as a mill operator for Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He married Irene MacPherson in 1950.

He was accepted into to College of Optometry of Ontario in Toronto in the fall of 1952. The large post-war classes were over and only 14 students were admitted for the first 4 year course leading to a Doctor of Optometry Degree. By the time this course was completed there were only 7 graduates in 1956. Since there had been no graduates in 1955, that meant that there had been only 7 graduates for a 2 year period, the lowest number so far.

As his first practice experience, Dr. Roach took over the Keith Hadley practice in Trenton, Ontario, for a couple of months while the Hadleys toured Europe. He was then offered the opportunity to pioneer a mobile vision care unit for the Ontario Junior Red Cross. Dr. Roach with Irene as his assistant spent the next year examining school children in the towns and villages along the CPR line north of Lake Superior. He then started a private practice in Renfrew, Ontario. After struggling to build this practice for a couple of years he put in 2 more years on the Mobile Red Cross Unit in the Bancroft area and along the upper Ottawa River.

Finally, he had the opportunity to purchase the Maxwell practice in Fredericton, and started in October, 1962. He had a staff of one and did his own dispensing and single vision lens edging. He was also the first contact lens practitioner in the city and developed a thriving practice. The first floor of the Maxwell house at 371 Brunswick Street served as offices for Dr. Roach and Dr. Harold Good, a gynecologist. The potential of the practice was large and it was but a short time before another optometrist was badly needed.

In 1964, Barbara Langton, a graduate of Manchester, England, became the first associate in the practice.  She was fully busy in short order and the practice continued to grow. The office was moved to the Eastern Canada Building at 212 Queen Street in 1965. Barbara's husband made a career move in 1967 and she left the practice to practice in North Vancouver.

In 1968 Henri Giasson became the second associate in the practice. He was born in Montreal in 1943 where he attended elementary school, then high school in Verdun. Henri attended Veterinary school in St. Hyacinthe for a short time before making a change in career direction towards optometry. He married Monique Seers in 1964 and graduated from Ecole d'Optometrie, University of Montreal in 1967. Henri practiced briefly in Beloeil working for anther optometrist as well as working as a contact lens clinician at the Ecole d'Optometrie.

Dr. Giasson became the first partner in the summer of 1969. His professional activities have included being secretary -treasurer of New Brunswick Association of Optometry and working on various committees. He has very active within the local community with many organizations. Dr. Giasson retired from Spectrum Vision Clinic in 2001.

In 1969 Ken Cole took over the management of the practice dispensary. The office was at 212 Queen Street at that time. There were two ladies working in the dispensary which consisted of two tiny fitting booths. Soon after that the office moved to 249 Rookwood Avenue.  Another renovation took place in 1983. Ken retired in 1988 at which time Ken had four full-time staff and two part-time working under him including our current Office Manager, Crystal Clowater.

In 1970 Andree Lepine became an associate in the practice. Dr. Lepine was a classmate of Dr. Giasson's graduating from Ecole d'optometrie, University of Montreal in 1967. She was an important asset to the practice until she returned to Montreal in 1981.

In 1972 Ron Harding became the second partner in the practice. He was born in St. John in 1947. His parents, Bunnie and Gordon Harding moved to Marysville while Ron was an infant. Here he attended elementary school and Fredericton High school. before going on to two years in Electrical Engineering at U.N.B. Then as Drs. Roach and Giasson so wisely did, he headed for Toronto's School of Optometry in 1966. He continued his optometric education at the new School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo in 1967 where he graduated with honors in 1970. He then joined the practice of Dr. Barnes bell and his son Dr. Robert Bell in Moncton in July, 1971.

Ron married Linda Doherty in October, 1971 and soon afterwards moved to Fredericton. He answered a blind ad in the paper for office space which turned out to be Roach & Giasson moving to it's Rookwood Avenue building. Ron joined the practice in March, 1972. At that time he was booked for three months of appointments before he started while Drs. Roach and Giasson were booked ahead from six to seven months. He became the second partner in the practice in August, 1972.

Dr. Harding was active in the provincial optometric association working on many committees. He served as president of the N.BA.O. in 1976 and was proud to oversee the passing of a new Optometry Act for New Brunswick in June, 1978. This act replaced the previous act of 1945 and incorporated some legislation that was unique to Canada and served as a model for other provinces. Ron's community interests revolve around his work with the Nashwaaksis Y'sMen's Club and the Nashwaaksis United Church. Dr. Harding retired from Spectrum Vision Clinic in 2007.

In 1980 Les Clements became the third partner in the practice. He was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland, in 1956. Les attended elementary school at a Canadian military base in Germany until his family moved to Oromocto in 1965 where he continued his primary and secondary education graduating from Oromocto high school in 1974. It was at high school that he met his future wife, Ruth Wells, whom he married in March 1975. Les attended pre-optometry at U.N.B. before enrolling at the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo in 1976. Les received the Percy Hermat scholarship each year based on need and academic standing. He graduated in 1980. Ruth and Les were blessed with their first son, Michael, in January 1978 and their second son, Jimmy, in June 1981.

He served N.B. representative at C.A.O. during period 1983-86. and as president of N.B.A.O. during period 1986-88. Les is active in community affairs having served on executives for home and school associations and various church youth committees as well as coaching sports. He was Grand Knight of a local Knights of Columbus Council service organization.

In 1981 Crystal Clowater joined the dispensary staff. After performing basic dispensary tasks for a year, she began her apprenticeship of the Optician course. She became a licensed optician in 1986 and was given the title of assistant dispensary manager. Crystal was appointed manager in 1988.

In September, 1987, Pat Clements joined the practice. Pat was born in Iserlohn, West Germany, in 1963 when his father, a Canadian military man, was stationed there. His family returned to Canada in 1965 and he attended elementary and high schools in Oromocto graduating in 1981. He was active in student government, sports, and acted as a disc jockey. Pat spent two years in the Science program at U.N.B. after which he was accepted at the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Clements graduated in 1987. Pat became the fourth partner in 1989 when Dr. Roach retired. Pat and spouse Nancy have a son, Noah along with two other children, Daniel and Sara. Dr. Clements' community involvement revolves around his church in New Maryland. He enjoys badminton and woodworking. He has served as a councillor in the N.B.A.O. from 1996-7.

Kristine MacDiarmid joined the practice in August 1995 to fill in while Dr. Giasson was enjoying a one year sabbatical. Dr. MacDiarmid is a native of Chatham N.B. where she attended elementary and high schools. She spent two years taking science courses at U.N.B. before entering School of Optometry at University of Waterloo where she graduated in 1993. Kristine practiced in Moncton and Peterborough, Ontario before joining the Rookwood Clinic.

Dr. Jason Saunders practiced at Rookwood Clinic for a brief period while establishing his new office in Rothesay, NB. Dr. Saunders did a one month internship in January, 1997 and was with the practice after his graduation in 1998 up to January, 1999.

Dr. Michelle Lane and Dr. Jeff Palk began at Rookwood Clinic in August, 2001 the year of retirement for Dr. Giasson. Dr. Jeff Palk grew up in Fredericton, graduated from F.H.S., and attended U.N.B. previous to his optometry education. He then went to the University of Waterloo for his Doctor of Optometry degree. He has also had clinical training at a multi -discipline clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Palk is also an avid curler.

Dr. Michelle Lane grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan and moved to Belleville, Ontario during high school. She obtained her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Optometry degrees from the University of Waterloo. She also has had extensive clinical rotations at a large clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Lane enjoys reading, in particular historical novels and hiking.

Dr. Tim Wiley joined Spectrum Vision Clinic in July of 2010.  Dr. Wiley grew up on a grape farm in St. Catharines, Ontario.  He completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Dalhousie University where he played varsity volleyball.  At Dalhousie, he met his future wife Lauren, a Fredericton native.  Dr. Wiley did his Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Waterloo, which included a clinical externship in ocular disease training in Atlanta, Ga.  Dr. Wiley enjoys being physically active.  He has a busy family life with three young sons, and he enjoys assistant coaching roles with UNB women's volleyball and his son's soccer team.

In 2013 joined the Spectrum team. Dr. Amanda Brown began her studies with a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of New Brunswick, which she completed in 2009.  She then went on to complete her Optometry Degree, graduating from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science in 2013. Dr. Brown is a proud Frederictonian, Maritimer and Canadian, and is very grateful for the good fortune that allowed her to return to the hometown that she loves.  Upon completion of her Optometry Degree she began her work with us at Spectrum Vision Clinic, and she has been here ever since.