He started his career specializing in Burn Care at the Toronto General Hospital before taking over as the Director of the University of Toronto Adult Regional Burn Centre at the old Wellesley Hospital at the corner of Sherbourne and Wellesley in 1984.
He was the Chief of Plastic Surgery and Burn Unit Director for 16 years. During his academic career, Dr. Peters was awarded over $5 million in research funding, published over 160 papers and book chapters, and has presented papers at over 300 national and international meetings.
During his time, he treated over 2,000 patients with major burns and more importantly established the standard for burn care with a team and interdisciplinary approach. For many medical students in the 1980’s, Wally Peters was the go to guy if you wanted to become a plastic surgeon. Not from just an inspirational point of view, but Wally had this amazing way of taking you into the fold, so to speak, and making you feel part of the team. Wally had this unique way of making you feel important. Wally was and continues to be a kind and caring surgeon who inspired a generation of surgical trainees and has been integral in shaping the careers of many leaders in the field of Plastic Surgery. His impact on the landscape of burn care at the University of Toronto cannot be overstated and is well represented with former trainees Drs. Joel Fish and Rob Cartotto. The University of Toronto has recently named the Annual Walter Peters Burn Symposium Lecture in his honor.
While now removed from the field of Burn Care, Wally runs the Rosedale Centre for Plastic Surgery which is unique in having a designated hospital license.
For the past 10 years, Dr. Peters has been the Coordinator of an international research study involving 3,000 women who have received silicone gel breast implants. In Washington, D.C., he is a consultant/advisor to the FDA, the National Academy of Science, the National Cancer Institute, the Institute of Medicine Study on the Safety of Breast Implants, and the FDA Public Health Project. He is also a member of Health Canada’s Expert Panel on Breast Implants and Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Peters is a member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Task Force, to define the guidelines for Plastic Surgery Independent Health Facilities. He is also a Facility Inspector for Surgical Facilities in Ontario.
Dr. Peters is Full Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He has supervised the training of 11 Clinical Fellows, 28 Plastic Surgery Residents. He has received many research awards, including the prestigious “Lister Award”, for the top surgical scientist at the University of Toronto, performing long-term research at the international level.