During World War II new programs for medical treatment and rehabilitation reduced mortality rates following spinal cord injury from over 80 percent in World War I to below 10 percent by 1946. In Canada a group of physicians, veterans, and civilians developed one of the first comprehensive sets of programs and services to permit the return of veterans with spinal cord injury to independent life in the community, beyond the confines of hospitals or paraplegic colonies. This article reviews the activities of Dr. E. Harry Botterell, Lieutenant John Counsell, and Dr. Al Jousse in the development of a Canadian approach that revolutionized the life experiences and life expectancy of individuals with spinal cord injury. It describes the development of their philosophy of rehabilitation as well as the programs and services they established at the No. 1 Canadian Neurological Hospital in England, and at Christie Street Military Hospital, Lyndhurst Lodge, and the Canadian Paraplegic Association in Canada.