1856 to 1866 Timeline
Adam Fergusson, member of the Upper Canada Board of Agriculture, and George Buckland, Professor of Agriculture at the University of Toronto, initiated a campaign to establish a veterinary college in Upper Canada. The Board of Agriculture agreed that Toronto would be the location of the college and approached William Dick, Principal of the Edinburgh Veterinary College of Scotland, to recommend a graduate to run the college. Dick recommended Andrew Smith, who had graduated from the Edinburgh Veterinary College in 1861, qualifying his appointment as Veterinary Surgeon to the Upper Canada Board of Agriculture.
Smith arrived in Canada and began practicing veterinary science and giving public lectures in Toronto in 1862. In 1864, he was granted a charter by the Upper Canada Board of Agriculture for the founding of the Upper Canada Veterinary College, later named the Ontario Veterinary College. Smith constructed the College's first buildings on Temperance Street at his own expense, employed a small faculty, admitted students, collected their fees, and was the main instructor at the College.
Andrew Smith, the founder of the OVC, was born in Scotland in 1834. After graduating from the Edinburgh Veterinary College in 1861, Smith accepted an appointment by the Upper Canada Board of Agriculture and in 1862 travelled to Canada and began practicing and teaching in Toronto. Smith served as Principal and taught at the OVC from its founding in 1862 until it was taken over by the Ontario government in 1908. Smith died in 1910.
Smith made a number of important contributions to the veterinary profession in Canada. Most notable was his advocacy and participation in the formation of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association in 1874. Smith was a fervent advocate for the professional recognition and organization of veterinary practitioners and the Association facilitated this professional fellowship. He served as president of the Association until 1879 when it became the Ontario Veterinary Association. Smith furthered his own professional credentials in 1880 when he became a member of the Royal College of Veterinarians.
Duncan McEachran graduated alongside Andrew Smith from the Royal Veterinary College, Edinburgh, in 1861. He taught briefly at the Ontario Veterinary College before moving to Montreal to found the Montreal Veterinary College in 1866, disagreeing with Andrew Smith over the standards of veterinary education. The Montreal Veterinary College had much higher admissions standards and a much more rigorous curriculum than other veterinary schools of the period, including the Ontario Veterinary College. These professional standards would influence the standards of veterinary schools would follow beginning in the early twentieth century.
Though the Montreal Veterinary College would close in 1903, McEachran played a significant role in the formation of livestock disease control legislation in Canada, participating in the creation of the Animal Contagious Disease Act (1869). McEachran was placed in charge of animal quarantine in 1876 and was named the chief inspector of livestock, assigning veterinarians to inspect imported livestock for a variety of infectious diseases. He was named Chief Veterinary Inspector for Canada in 1885, a part-time position he held until 1902.