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History of OVC

The Ontario Veterinary College is the oldest veterinary college in Canada and the United States. It began in Toronto in 1862, moved to Guelph in 1922 and became a founding college of the University of Guelph in 1964.

To learn more about the history of the Ontario Veterinary College and veterinary medicine in Canada, visit the C.A.V. Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History at the College (visits to the CAV Barker Museum are by appointment only). There are currently over 10,000 items in the museum's collection.

Key Dates in the History of the Ontario Veterinary College

1861 - Andrew Smith, a graduate of the Dick Veterinary School in Edinburgh, Scotland, arrives in Canada.

1862 - Smith gives his first in a series of lectures on 'the veterinary art'.

1864 - The popularity of Smith's lectures leads to the development of a regular course.

1866 - The first students of the course are examined by veterinary surgeons selected by the Board of Agriculture. Three receive the diploma awarded by the Board and become the first graduates of the Upper Canada Veterinary School. Smith is referred to as 'Principal'.

1870 - Smith uses his own money to build Canada's first veterinary college building located on Temperance Street in Toronto, Ontario.

1876 - The original College building is expanded to deal with the popularity of Smith's course.

1897 - The college is affiliated with the University of Toronto. The College becomes known as the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

1908 - The Government of Ontario acquires OVC from Smith and the College becomes an institution of the Department of Agriculture. Smith becomes a Professor Emeritus and E.A.A. Grange is appointed Principal. The curriculum is revised and the course extended one year. The University of Toronto establishes a three-year course leading to a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) degree and a doctoral course of one year leading to the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc).

1909 - Provincial legislation permits the granting of a diploma signifying qualification as a Veterinary Surgeon and granting the title, degree and standing of a Veterinary Surgeon, attested by the Principal of the College and the Minister of Agriculture.

1910 - Andrew Smith dies on August 15th.

1914 - The building of a new College on University Avenue in Toronto begins.

1915 - 110 University Avenue becomes the site of the enlarged, modernized College.

1918 - Principal Grange retires and Dr. C .D. McGilvray is appointed Principal.

1920 - The University of Toronto extends the BVSc to a four-year program.

1921 - The Ontario government approves the re-location of OVC to Guelph. The move provides a closer relationship among the College, the Ontario Agricultural College and the livestock industry.

1922 - The new College buildings officially open on Gordon Street in Guelph.

1945 - Principal McGilvray retires and Dr. Andrew L. MacNabb, formerly Director, Laboratory Service, Ontario Department of Health, is appointed Principal.

1946 - University of Toronto Senate approves granting the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM).

1949 - A new five-year course and admissions requirements are established.

1950 - Dr. T. L. Jones is appointed Acting Principal due to the illness of Dr. MacNabb.

1951 - The OVC Alumni Association is formed.

1952 - Dr. MacNabb dies and Dr. Jones is appointed Principal.

1955 - The Senate of the University of Toronto approves an improved program for graduate degrees in veterinary medicine. The first students graduate in 1957.

1962 - The College celebrates its 100th anniversary.

1964 - OVC's affiliation with the University of Toronto is severed and the College becomes part of the new University of Guelph. The 'Principal' now becomes the 'Dean' of the College.

1965 - The DVM program is changed to a four-year course following two years of pre-veterinary study at the university level.

1968 - Jones resigns as Dean; the new Dean is Dr. D. G. Howell.

1969 - A teaching hospital program is created and the inception of an intern-residency program is approved.

1970 - Graduate diploma programs at the College are approved.

1972 - A new BSc (Biomed) Honours program, to be directed by OVC and given jointly by the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Human Biology, begins. A major revision of the DVM undergraduate curriculum, to begin in 1974, is approved. It will be based, in part, on the systems method of teaching.

1979 - Dr. D. C. Maplesden becomes Dean of the College. Approval is given for the establishment of a DVSc program, to provide a clinically-applied graduate degree.

1984 - Dean Maplesden retires.

1985 - Dr. N.O. Nielsen becomes Dean of the College.

1987 - The College's 125th Anniversary Conference is held on September 24, 25, and 26.

1994 - Dr. Alan Meek becomes Dean of OVC.

1999 - The pre-veterinary year is eliminated. Admission requirements to the DVM program now include two years of undergraduate university education and the writing of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

2000 - A new undergraduate veterinary curriculum, called DVM 2000, is implemented. The curriculum puts a greater focus on self-directed learning.

2005 - Dr. Elizabeth Stone becomes Dean of OVC.

2005/2006 - OVC begins its integrated planning process.