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Alumnus honoured by city of Ottawa

Roly Armitage

Veterinary graduate Roly Armitage, DVM ’51, has been honoured by the City of Ottawa for his legacy of service to the community. In December 2011, the city officially renamed the hall at the West Carleton community complex Dr. Roland Armitage Hall in recognition of his many contributions.

“Dr. Armitage has contributed exceptional devotion and service to the citizens of Ottawa, the province of Ontario and Canada as a whole,” states a news release from the city.

“As a veterinarian and veterinarian surgeon, Dr. Armitage cared for thousands of horses over his career, earning a reputation as being a leader in his profession and the horse racing world.”

Armitage was just 17 when he volunteered for service with the Royal Canadian Artillery in the Second World War and took part in the Normandy campaign and the liberation of France. Following the war, he attended OVC and graduated in 1951. During his career, he earned a reputation as a leader in the harness-racing industry and as a successful breeder of standardbreds. His natural and infectious enthusiasm for the sport made him a valuable ambassador for the equine industry.

“I am very honoured and humbled to be singled out,” Armitage said. “There are a lot of people who have done as much if not more – many who gave up their lives – and received no recognition at all. I am just happy to be around to receive this honour because usually this kind of thing doesn’t happen until after you’re dead. And I have no wish to die anytime soon.”

In addition to his service as a veterinarian and business leader, Armitage held public office. Following a narrow defeat in the 1990 provincial election as the Liberal candidate in the riding of Carleton, he would go on to serve as mayor of the Township of West Carleton and as a member of the council for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. His many previous honours include being named to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the terminal building that bears his name at the Carp Airport near Ottawa.
“If you live long enough, people want to make a fuss over you,” he joked.

“I think maybe the people who will get the most out of this will be my grandchildren. Some day they’ll look at this plaque and think that maybe their old Poppa wasn’t so bad after all.”

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