A Century on Campus

2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the OVC’s relocation to Guelph, a significant milestone in the history of the college. In 1922, the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) officially opened its doors in Guelph after sixty years in downtown Toronto. The decline of the urban horse, the mainstay of most 19th century veterinary colleges, as well as a strong desire on the part of the Ontario Government to enhance the province’s growing livestock industry, prompted the move that would see the OVC on the same campus as the Ontario Agricultural College and the Macdonald Institute.

A Century on Campus: The OVC in Guelph, 1922–2022 was a collaboration between the Barker Veterinary Museum at the Ontario Veterinary College and Archival & Special Collections in McLaughlin Library. The exhibit was not meant to be an exhaustive account of the college, but a series of snapshots of the transformation of the OVC over the last century, focusing on its student population. The physical exhibit was on display in Archival & Special Collections in the University of Guelph Library from June 2022 until December 2022. This digital exhibition serves to document the exhibit and provide a glimpse into the physical exhibit for those unable to visit in person.

OVC Main Building (C.A.V. Barker Collection, Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library)

More than just the relocation of students and teaching spaces, the OVC’s move to Guelph in 1922 reflected the beginning of a period in which veterinary medicine transformed into the profession familiar to most of us today. A century in Guelph would see the OVC grow to offer wider and more comprehensive training in livestock health, public health, disease intervention and surveillance, and establish companion animal medicine as a specialty. These various activities required increased space, equipment, and expertise, and the OVC would grow from a single teaching administration building and small infirmary in 1922 to the substantial footprint on campus it occupies today, encompassing six clinical services, research and testing laboratories, and state-of-the-art teaching facilities.

OVC Infirmary (C.A.V. Barker Collection, Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library)

Students have been at the centre of the OVC’s metamorphosis in Guelph. This exhibit focused on their experiences by examining the transformation of veterinary education and the social culture of the college over the last century. A Century on Campus also explored the stories of some the college’s recent cohort of 2022, highlighting their thoughts on veterinary education and their experiences at the OVC through the Covid-19 pandemic and their entry into the veterinary profession.

OVC Class of 1922

OVC Student Culture

Large Animal Medicine

Companion Animal Medicine

The OVC in 2022


A Century on Campus on display in the Archival & Special Collections Gallery in the University of Guelph Library