Museum Display Showcases OVC’s History, Community Ties

March 07, 2012 - News Release

The history of the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) will be the subject of an exhibit opening Friday at the Guelph Civic Museum.

The museum is now located in the historic Loretto Convent building on Norfolk Street.

Honouring OVC’s 150th anniversary and the birth of veterinary medicine in Canada, the exhibit will give visitors an intriguing glimpse into the college’s challenges and accomplishments. A grand opening will take place March 23.

OVC was founded in Toronto in 1862 mostly to train people to look after horses, a vital part of the economy of then Upper Canada. As its focus broadened to farm animals and agriculture, the college moved to Guelph in 1922.

“Since then, OVC has played a significant role in shaping the city and the surrounding community — and people are interested in knowing more about what we do,” said Peter Conlon, associate dean (students), and a keen student of OVC history.

The exhibit was assembled by Natasha Hayward, assistant history curator for OVC's 150th-anniversary project. Also involved were OVC staff, including Tara O’Brien, OVC 150 co-ordinator, and PhD student Lisa Cox, who has used college artifacts to learn about the history of zoonotic diseases. Hayward chose artifacts from 150 years of teaching, research and service at OVC.

One example is a copy of Canada’s first veterinary manual, one that was used widely around the world. When college founder Andrew Smith began teaching, he had one course and one textbook. An enterprising student from those early classes made this book from his class notes.

The exhibit also features historical photos and information and discusses today’s veterinary practice and the life of a veterinary student.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1