Ontario Agricultural College

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Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph
Established 1874
Type Public university Agricultural College
Dean Robert Gordon, PhD
Undergraduates 2,000 students
Location Alfred, Guelph, Kemptville and Ridgetown, Ontario, Canada
Colours Red and White          
Affiliations CUSID, UACC, ACCC, CCAA,
Website www.oac.uoguelph.ca/

The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) originated at the agricultural laboratories of the Toronto Normal School, and was officially founded in 1874 as an associate agricultural college of the University of Toronto. Since 1964, it has become affiliated with the University of Guelph, which operates four campuses throughout Ontario.


Special review day at Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario ca. 1939-46
MacDonald Institute, Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, Ontario

Ontario farmers increasingly demanded more information on the best farming techniques. Their demands led to farm magazine and agricultural fairs. In 1868 the assembly created an agricultural museum, which morphed into the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph in 1874.[1] Its first building was Moreton Lodge, located where Johnston Hall now stands, which included classrooms, residences, a library, and a dining room. (Several buildings constructed during this time period are still a part of campus life today, including President's Residence, Raithby House, and Day Hall.)

The War Memorial Hall (more generally known as Memorial Hall) is a landmark building built in June 1924 as a lecture hall or theatre at the Ontario Agricultural College to honour students who had enlisted and died in the First World War, and in the Second World War. Two bronze tablets in the Memorial Chapel remembers alumni who died in the First World War and in the Second World War.[2]

Subsequently, the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) became one of three founding colleges of the University of Guelph in 1964. (The other two were the Ontario Veterinary College and the Macdonald Institute.)

The OAC opened on May 1, 1874 with an enrollment of 28 students. The OAC administration was housed in Moreton Lodge until 1931, when the building was torn down to make way for Johnston Hall. The OAC's offices have resided in Johnston Hall ever since. The Canadian-American economist John Kenneth Galbraith earned a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from the College.

In August 2008 Dr. Robert Gordon was appointed Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College.


In 1997, three other agricultural colleges affiliated with the Ontario Agricultural College and the University of Guelph [1]: College d'Alfred, a francophone college in the eastern part of the province at Alfred, Ontario; Kemptville College, founded in 1917 and located at Kemptville, Ontario about 30 minutes south of Ottawa, and Ridgetown College at Ridgetown, Ontario founded in 1922 and located in southwestern Ontario near Chatham. In May 2007, they were renamed Campus d'Alfred, Kemptville Campus and Ridgetown Campus in order to recognize their full integration into the university.[2]


The OAC offers a wide range of degree and diploma programs based on four main pillars: food, agriculture, environment, and rural communities.[3] The following degrees and diplomas are available under the OAC:

  • Associate Diploma
    • Agriculture
    • Turfgrass Management
  • Bachelor of Arts
    • Agricultural Economics
  • Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture
    • Agriculture
    • Animal Science
    • Crop Science
    • Horticultural Science
    • Organic Agriculture
    • Turfgrass Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences
    • Environmental Sciences
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Commerce
    • Food and Agricultural Business
  • Bachelor of Science
    • Animal Biology
    • Earth Surface Science
    • Environmental Biology
    • Food Science


  • 1877 - one-year diploma program expanded to two years
  • 1891 - short courses offered to general public.
  • 1901 - degree program adds a fourth year (still a U of T degree).
  • 1926 - graduate program begins
  • 1988 - Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Environmental Science programs begins.
  • 1995 - "Experience Agriculture" curriculum for B.Sc.(Agr) program begins.
  • 1997 - Agricultural colleges in Kemptville, Ridgetown and Alfred affiliate with OAC and the University of Guelph.
  • 2006 - the Faculty of Environmental Sciences is relocated permanently to the OAC.
  • 2009 - the School of Environmental Sciences is formed by a merger of the departments of Environmental Biology and Land Resource Sciences, and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Carter, "The Education of the Ontario Farmer," Ontario History, May 2004, Vol. 96 Issue 1, pp 62-84
  2. ^ http://www.library.guelph.on.ca/localhistory/photodbase/dborig/C6-0-0-0-0-848.jpg War Memorial Hall
  3. ^ About OAC

External links[edit]