Auto door access at the Food Science/Food Tech Centre junction, on the south side of the building off Grange Lane (across from Animal Science)


At end of the hall from accessible entrance


P25 off McGillvray Street; P64 off College Avenue


Located on the first floor, left from the elevator

In 1922 the Dairy Science building opened for teaching and research in dairy manufacturing, including condensed, powdered milk and ice cream (produced since 1908). On the main floor wall of the Dairy Science building (now known as Food Science) are three large historical outlines describing how it began as the Ontario Experimental Farm Creamery in 1884.

The O.A.C Review

The Dairy Department

Back in the early days of the College, there was built a cheese factory on the College Farm. Apparently, this was not a successful venture. In the report of the Professor or Agriculture for the year 1884, we are told that the "Ontario Experimental Farm Creamery" had been made from "the old cheese factory" building with the object of developing the creamery business. Experimental shipments of butter were made to Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, London (England ), Liverpool and Glasgow. On the whole, reports on the quality of the butter made, were favorable. The "Experimental Farm Creamery" did not get started until September 25th, 1884.

In 1885 the first Professor of Dairying was appointed in the person of S.M. Barre. He, apparently, was not favorably impressed with the Creamery prospects at the College. In his report for that year we read, "I regret to state that a worse creamery section than Guelph I never met." The next Head of the Dairy Department was J.W. Robertson, then a rising young Scotch cheesemaker, from Harriston, Ont. Robertson was one of the brainiest men ever appointed to the College Staff. However, men of brains are not always appreciated in the civil service, hence, Professor, (now Doctor,) Robertson, soon resigned having held the position for about three years, though he gave lectures to College classes in the spring of 1890. During 1890, the practical work of the Dairy Department, was under the charge of Geo. Harcourt who had been Robertson's assistant.

On January 1st., 1891, H.H. Dean a recent graduate of the College, was given the chair of Dairy Husbandry. There has been no change in HEad since.

In 1891, the Dairy Building consisted of the old cheese factory changed to a creamery, with some living rooms attached for the buttermaker. "Jim Brady" was herdsman, engineer, buttermaker, in fact, chief and only cook and bottle-washer for the Department. In one corner of the creamery was a small cupboard-like office heated with an old, gas-producing coal stove. To this cheerless spot the present Professor of Dairying came in the winter of 1891, after spending a month or two at Farmers' Institute work, as a sort of "warming up" for the job.

There was no dairy class-room at that time, practically no machinery and no laboratories to teach dairying to students. Lectures were given wherever there happened to be a vacant lecture-room at the time appointed for the dairy lecture. The lecturer was able to appreciate the difficulties of the "peripatetic philosopher".

The present dairy plant contrasts very markedly with the one in use, 1891. Present students in Dairying scarcely appreciate the great advantages they possess over those attending the College in the '90's and previously.

The Extension work in Dairying for Ontario, is directed by the Department of Agriculture in Toronto, whence a large staff is controlled, for inspection and other extension services. The statement has been made recently that this work could best be directed form the College, where there is ample cold storage and other facilities, including bacterial and chemical laboratories. Office room could be provided at small expense in the Dairy Building. This plan would save thousands of dollars to the Province of Ontario. (The writer does not expect a "Vote of Thanks" for this suggestion.)

As at present organized the staff of the Dairy Department includes: H.H. Dean, Professor of Dairy Husbandry; W.H. Sproule, Lecturer; H.A. Smallfield, Lecturer; Miss Belle Miller, Demonstrator; F.W. Hamilton, Demonstrator and T.J. McKinney, Demonstrator.

The chief aims of the Dairy Department are:

1. To provide a sound, theoretical and practical training in the main branches of Dairying, for students who are interested in the subject, particularly for Fourth Year Dairy Option students, and for three months' Factory Course Classes. (The 35th consecutive Short Dairy Course was completed in March, 1928.)

2. To conduct investigations and research work, in dairy problems, so far as the limited time and funds will allow. To do effective research work a special staff is needed, who could devote most of their time to this line. One who is a good lecturer is seldom a good investigator. These require two entirely different types of men and women. The former must be one who can inspire students to think and do noble deeds; the latter, needs to be a "plodder," one who is content to live largely in a laboratory, far from the haunts of men and women.

The people of the Province of Ontario have invested millions of dollars at the O.A.C. The only way to get interest on this money is to require that good teaching shall prevail and that research problems beneficial to agriculture shall be carried out to the fullest extent possible. At the present time the College is being operated at about one-half its capacity. No business concern would be satisfied with half the returns possible from its investment.

The O.A.C Review

Trent Institute

The growth of the baking industry in the past generation has been phenomenal, when the making of bread has left the home and become centralized in the commercial bakeries throughout the land. Accompanied by this rapid growth were all the problems of large production, changing qualities of the wheat and the scientific principles of Bacteriology and chemistry to worry the baker and make his work of an extremely complex nature. From the beginning of this growth the baker gradually realized his helplessness in solving the many problems which confronted him and yearned for a source, to which he could turn for help. With this desire for knowledge and the increasing demands made upon the baking industry by the public, their desires began to materialize in 1924.

Through the untiring efforts of Mr. H. E. Trent, secretary of the Canadian Bread Bakers' Association, sufficient funds were contributed by the bakers and the allied trades to erect and fully equip a most attractive edifice. This building was completed in 1926, and is known as "Trent Institute."

After the building was fully completed, equipped, and paid for, which involved a sum amounting to about $100,000, it was presented to the Ontario government and accepted by the Prime Minister on May 11, 1927, to be maintained as a faculty of the Ontario Agricultural College.

The first course of instruction opened January 10, 1927, with ten students, and the numbers have gradually increased until the third course just completed, had an enrolment of 16 students, with two fellowships.

The course is of four months duration, from September to December 24th, and from January to May 1st. It is devised to assist the baker in the commercial production of bread in the most scientific and practical way. With its most modern equipment the students are taught the principles of large shop production as well as handwork, to take care of the smaller bakeries. They make bread on a commercial scale and are instructed as far as possible the reason for the different steps and methods of procedure.

There is also an experimental laboratory course, where baking materials are tested and the effects of the various ingredients brought out in the finished loaf product. The elementary, or basic fundamentals of chemistry, bacteriology and mathematics are taught as far as possible, to enable the student to more fully grasp the technical phase of the course. A complete course in the cake making and decorating is given in a fully equipped cake laboratory. The principles of compounding, creaming, baking and finishing of cakes are thoroughly studied and batches made on a commercial scale.

Besides the tuitional work at the institute, service work in the industry is being encouraged. Bakers experiencing trouble on new problems may consult the Institute as to their solutions.

Prior to the opening of the Trent Institute a wheat and flour-testing laboratory had been maintained in the Department of Chemistry since the year 1906, under the direction of Miss M.A. Purdy. This Department has now been transferred to Trent Institute and is a service to the millers and bakers in the testing of wheat and flours.

The staff of Trent Institute: Prof. R. Harcourt, Director; H.C. Maedel, Assistant Director and Instructor in Bread Making; Jan Micka, Cereal Chemist and Instructor in Experimental Baking: W.H. Croot, Instructor in Cake Making and Decorating. W. Rushton, Baker; Mrs. M.E. Child, Assistant in Flour Testing.

For more information about the Historical Walking Tour, please contact:

Alumni Affairs & Development
(519) 824-4120 ext. 56934