Ontario Veterinary College

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Ontario Veterinary College
Opus Veterinum Civibus
Motto in English
The Craft of the Veterinarian is for the Good of the Nation
Established1862; 157 years ago (1862)
Parent institution
University of Guelph
DeanJeffrey Wichtel

The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is the oldest veterinary school in Canada. It is located on the campus of the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. The OVC is one of five veterinary schools that offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, DVM program in Canada. The OVC was ranked 1st in Canada and 4th in the world for veterinary medicine by the QS World University Rankings 2015.[1]


Originally called Upper Canada Veterinary School,[2] the Ontario Veterinary College was established in Toronto in 1862, by the Scots Andrew Smith (veterinary surgeon) with some assistance from Duncan McNab McEachran, both graduates of the Royal School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. The college adopted the current name in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation.[3] McEachran was a staff member but he considered the admission standards and academic requirements to be inadequate. He left after three years, moving to Montreal where he helped establish Montreal Veterinary College.[4]

The school's first classes took place at 188 King Street West in 1861 and then at Agricultural Hall at Yonge and Queen Streets in 1862.[5] The first permanent site of the school was at Bay Street and Temperance Street in 1870 and University Avenue in 1914. By 1897, the college was affiliated with the University of Toronto and in 1908 it was acquired from Smith by the government of Ontario.

It later moved to Guelph, Ontario (1922) and remained affiliated with the University of Toronto until it became a founding college of the University of Guelph in 1964.[6] In 1928 Miss E. B. Carpenter from Detroit was the first woman to graduate from a Canadian veterinary college.[7] She was accepted to the school in 1923, one year after the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act allowed Miss Aleen Cust to complete her exams at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.[8] The first woman to graduate from OVC was Dr. G. E. Fritz from New York, the first Canadian woman to graduate from OVC or any other Canadian veterinary college was Jean Rumney in 1939 and the second was Edith Williams in 1941, also a graduate of OVC.[9] Today the majority of Canadian veterinary school graduates are women.[10]

In 1964 it became a founding college of the University of Guelph. The college severed ties with University of Toronto and its principal became the dean of the college.[11] The OVC celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2012.


The OVC is the only veterinary college in the province of Ontario, and one of only five current veterinary colleges across Canada. (The other four are at the Université de Montréal, University of Prince Edward Island, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary.) The University of Calgary, which opened in 2008, is the youngest of the five, while the OVC is the oldest.[12]


In February 2008, OVC was granted $9.5 million from the province of Ontario. The intent was to help the college develop a primary-care teaching hospital for small animals. [13]

The Hill's Primary Healthcare Centre opened during the summer of 2010 as a veterinary clinic and an educational facility for all veterinary students. A new state-of-the-art Pathobiology building opened in the fall of 2010. A new large animal isolation facility serves to treat equine patients at high-risk for infectious disease.

In March 2016, the provincial government announced a $23 million grant to add a new building and to renovate the animal hospital. The plan was to add new classrooms and labs, to install new equipment and to improve biosecurity and infection control.[14]


The main OVC building is located on Gordon St. at College St. in Guelph, Ontario.[15] The Dean's Office is at 50 Stone Road, Guelph.


OVC offers bachelor's degrees in bio-medical science, but its primary degree offering is the DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). The College also offers DVSc, PhD, MSc, MPH, and Diploma programs at the graduate level. The DVM program is one of the most competitive in the world. The annual number of places available in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program is 120 seats with 105 for Canadians with Ontario residency and 15 for non-Canadians.

Student life[edit]

A tradition at OVC is the naming of each class with a mascot and a colour. This mascot represents the class throughout the four phases, and is used regularly in conjunction with not only academics, but also intramural sports. Hockey plays a large part in these intramurals, with rivalries coming to a head in a college wide "Challenge Cup" tournament, held each year in March.

Past Classes have included:

  • The 2000 Green Dragons,
  • The 2001 Purple Otters,
  • The 2002 Silver Polar Bears,
  • The 2003 Cougars,
  • The 2004 Falcons,
  • The 2005 Red Foxes,
  • The 2006 Broncos
  • The 2007 Golden Grizzlies
  • The 2008 Blue Qimmiqs
  • The 2009 Jade Jaguars
  • The 2010 Crimson Crocodiles [16]
  • The 2011 Black Mambas
  • The 2012 Silver Foxes
  • The 2013 Golden Phoenixes
  • The 2014 Emerald Elephants
  • The 2015 Scarlet Stags
  • The 2016 Cobalt Caracals
  • The 2017 Violet Komodos
  • The 2018 Ivory Owls
  • The 2019 Golden Krakens

Current Classes are:

  • The 2020 Ruby Rhinos
  • The 2021 Sapphire Snow Leopards
  • The 2022 Jade Jackals
  • The 2023 Opal Otters

Notable professors[edit]

Dr. W. J. R. Fowler taught equine surgery, materia medica, sporadic diseases, and lameness in horses. Fowler was recognized internationally, and had already taught at Ontario Veterinary College for over 55 years under 5 principles.

Dr. F. W. Schofield taught pathology, parasitology and bacteriology. He was also a missionary, travelling around the world preaching Christianity in his off time.[17]

Dr. Ronald G. Watkin taught bacteriology, milk hygiene, and diseases in poultry. He was an acclaimed research scientist. Ronald retired with Dr. Scofield in 1955.[18]

Principal Charles D. McGilvray was the 3rd principal of the school from 1918 to 1945. He taught contagious diseases, special therapeutics, and sanitary service subjects. He obtained the nickname "Shot-gun Charlie" from his handling of Glanders Disease in Manitoba between 1905 and 1910.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Veterinary Science". QS World University Rankings by Subject. QS. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. ^ "History of OVC". University of Guelph. University of Guelph. 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  3. ^ http://ovc.uoguelph.ca/office-of-the-dean/history
  4. ^ "Duncan McNab McEachran". News, Government of Canada. Government of Canada. February 15, 2016. McEachran was asked by a former classmate to join the staff of Canada’s first veterinary college
  5. ^ http://europepmc.org/scanned?pageindex=1&articles=PMC1697073
  6. ^ http://www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/aboutovc/history.shtml
  7. ^ Goodwin, Charlie (1983). 50 Years a Country Vetrerinarian. Belleville Ontario: Mika Publishing. p. 21.
  8. ^ Goodwin, Charlie (1983). 50 Years a Country Vetrerinarian. Belleville Ontario: Mika Publishing. p. 21.
  9. ^ Perdue, Katherine Anne (June 2014). Writing Desire: The Love Letters of Frieda Fraser and Edith Williams—Correspondence and Lesbian Subjectivity in Early Twentieth Century Canada (PDF) (PhD). Toronto, Ontario: York University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  10. ^ http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-colleges-of-veterinary-medicine/
  11. ^ "History of OVC". University of Guelph. University of Guelph. 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  12. ^ "About UCVM". University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Ontario invests in new hospital at Ontario Veterinary College". News Ontario. Province of Ontario. February 12, 2008. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  14. ^ staff writer (March 18, 2016). "Ontario Vet College gets $23M for learning space, equipment". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved January 25, 2017. College at University of Guelph transforms to meet the needs of students
  15. ^ "OVC Visiting the College". University of Guelph, OVC. University of Guelph. 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  16. ^ http://www.uoguelph.ca/~crocs10/CrimsonCrocs.html
  17. ^ Goodwin, Charlie (1983). 50 Years A Country Veterinarian. Belleville, Ontario: Mika Publishing.
  18. ^ Can J Comp Med Vet Sci. Jul 1955; 19(7): 199–200.
  19. ^ http://alumni.ovc.uoguelph.ca/post/9039632684/charles-d-mcgilvray-ovc-1900-3rd-principal-of-ovc

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°31′52″N 80°13′56″W / 43.53115°N 80.23233°W / 43.53115; -80.23233