Edmund Harry Botterell was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 28, 1906. He was educated at Ridley College and the University of Manitoba. He received many honours, one being the Order of the British Empire from His Majesty the King, received for meritorious services during World War II.
From 1936-1939, Dr. Botterell was a lecturer in Neurophysiology at the University of Toronto and Attending Surgeon of Neurosurgery at the Toronto General Hospital. He established Lyndhurst Lodge for the care of paraplegics with the aid of Dr. Albin T. Jousse.
In 1953 he became Head of Neurosurgery at Toronto General Hospital and held this post until 1962 when he accepted the position of Dean of Medicine at Queen's, which he held until 1970. He was also the Vice Principal of Health Sciences from 1968-1971.
During his career, Dr. Botterell pioneered many innovative developments in neurosurgery, including the use of hypothermia in brain surgery. He was also a well-known spokesman for the importance of universal public health care.