1910 to 1918 Timeline
Prior to World War I, Canadian veterinarians served in a number of global military conflicts. Their services were essential to maintain the health and welfare of the many animals used by the military such as munitions horses and mules, as well as the horses of mounted units. The organization of veterinarians in the military, however, lacked co-ordination, leaving the assignment of veterinarians to individual regiments. In 1910, it was decided to create a centralized, permanent structure for veterinarians in the military. The Canadian Army Veterinary Service was established as a branch of the militia and consisted of three branches: The Canadian Permanent Army Veterinary Corps, the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, and the Regimental Veterinary Service (which by WWI was being dissolved).
In 1912, regulations specifying the various duties of veterinary officers, schools, and hospitals, were published and by the beginning of World War I, the necessary groundwork had been laid for the organized deployment of veterinary surgeons to the field. Within three months of the outbreak of the War, Canadian veterinarians were en route to England with troops and horses. A number of veterinary students of the OVC were permitted to delay graduation in order to enlist. Consequently, a number of OVC students and graduates served with distinction in World War I and the high profile of the Corps was a major contributing factor to the 1920 legislation (Veterinary Science Practice Act) which gave professional recognition to the veterinary profession.
Research, a foundational activity for any scientific institution, began at the OVC in the early twentieth century. One of the first to undertake a large research project was Dr. Frank Schofield (OVC '10). His research, which began in 1912, involved the investigation of bacterial infections caused by streptococcus and salmonella bacteria and their role in pyemic arthritis (joint ill) in foals. Joint ill is an infection of the joints which can spread to the bone and is a leading cause of lameness in a wide variety of farm animals. It is of particular concern to thoroughbred breeders as carefully bred foals may not be able to perform or may have to be euthanized depending on the severity. Schofield's research in 1912 demonstrated the preventative value of certain vaccines available at the time for joint ill, namely S. aureus and B. coli.
The Omega Tau Sigma (OTS) fraternity was first started by veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania in 1906. The Delta Chapter of OTS was established at the OVC during the 1913-14 academic year. Delta Chapter is one of fifteen chapters of the fraternity and the only one in Canada. The original fraternity house, located at 51 Dundas Road, was purchased in 1955 and provided a secure meeting place, allowing members to build alliances and friendships. The construction of the current chapter house at 349 Gordon Street began in 1966. The two storey house is fully equipped with sixteen bedrooms, two bathrooms, two 1500ft² meeting rooms with fireplaces as well as a TV and bar room. While initially open only to male veterinary students, the chapter became a co-ed organization in 1983. Currently over two-thirds of members are women, largely reflecting the demographics of the student body. OTS has and continues to provides for veterinary students informal gatherings, the annual fourth year stag, close contact among all the years, guest speakers, and participation in various charities.
Troughout the early twentieth century, the OVC expanded its facilities to accommodate growing numbers of students as well as research activities. In 1914, the building of a new college on University Avenue in Toronto began and one year later 110 University Avenue became the site an enlarged, modernized OVC.
Dr. Charles Duncan (C.D.) McGilvray first came to Canada from Glasgow in 1886 and lived in Manitoba where he received his early education. He attended and graduated from the OVC in 1900 and from McKillop Veterinary College in Chicago the following year. Returning to Manitoba, he was appointed the Chief Veterinary Inspector for the Province of Manitoba. During his time as Inspector, he made critical contributions to the eradication of glanders, a highly infectious bacterial disease affecting horses.
McGilvray was appointed Principal of the OVC in 1918, a position he held until his retirement in 1945.
Under his administration, a number of major changes were made to the OVC. Firstly, the College was relocated from Toronto to Guelph in 1922, a decision he defended as he recognized the decline of the public's use of horses and the growing demand for livestock products. He perceived Guelph to be a preferable location as it offered the opportunity for closer ties with the livestock community. The curriculum for veterinary students at the OVC was also transformed under McGilvray's administration. This was done in part to reflect the new location of the College, but also to raise the academic standards of the College.
McGilvray increased the length of the undergraduate program to four years in 1920, raised admission requirements, and enhanced academic standards for existing students. The extension of the undergraduate program and more rigorous admissions requirements led to accreditation of the OVC by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1920.