Edward H. Garrard

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Eddie Garrard was a long-time head of the Department of Bacteriology in the OAC, although the interview dwells primarily on his experiences during his student years from 1923 to 1927 and shortly after when he was Dean of Residence.  His impressions of initiation, student pranks, residence food and several professors of the day make for interesting reading.

Graduation Year




Interview Date


A. Grubbe

Call Number

RE1 UOG A1340060


Edward H. Garrard interview


Tape 1 of 1 Side A
Ontario College of Agriculture, 1927
Interviewed by A. G. Grubbe
April 20, 1991
Gr. This is an interview with Edward Garrard of Ontario Agricultural College, class of 1927, conducted by Arthur Grubbe, on April the 20th, 1991, for the University of Guelph Alumni Association and the Alumni – in – Action Committee. Well, Eddie, I believe from information, I’ve gathered, you had a different introduction to life than most of us – have experienced, and I quote from a notation in the Libranni of your graduating year, “Eddie was born in Africa, partially tamed in B.C., and later moved to Fruitland in the Garden of Ontario.” After all that is said, what else can you say about it, Eddie?
Ga. Well, my father was one of those Englishmen who, when he got a bit of money, which his mother left him, decided he wanted to go farming. So he decided to go to uh, a fruit farm in Fruitland, Ontario, and haul along my brother and I to assist in growing and gathering in fruit. Well, I – I despised the darn place. I hate the fruit growing and packing peaches ‘til twelve in the morning, and – and getting up to go to market, and all the rest of it. But my father insisted that in due of the fact that we were at a fruit farm, my best bet was to go to OAC and take the Horticulture option. And I personally, I wanted to go be a doctor, but we never had enough money to go to med school, so I went to OAC, and entered OAC in 1922, and took the Diploma Course, fully anticipating that that would be the limit. That I would learn all I would need to know to grow better fruit, by taking the Diploma Course. But, however, I became very interested in Bacteriology, under Professor Jones, and much to my father’s disgust, I switched into Bacteriology in the Option Year. And my one reason for that is the fact that it runs in the family. My - I have a cousin – a second cousin, who was a Head of the Tropical Institute in London, England, and was knighted for his work in Ketone Sickness. And he was also a medical man. And I had another uncle, who was a – a medical doctor in Dominique, so the urge to be a doctor, or work in medical appliances and so on, was very strong in me, and that is why I entered Bacteriology. So I concentrated on Bacteriology under Professor Jones, and graduated in the option in 1927. I should mention that before I went to OAC, I, took a three year course at the Hamilton Technical Institute, where I took a certain number of matriculation subjects, and also a three year course in architecture and cabinet making, with the thought that if I failed University, I’d at least have something to fall back on. But, however, I didn’t fail, and the training in architecture and cabinet making has stood me in good stead, as hobbies, after I graduated. Now sixty-nine years ago, I entered as a bashful freshman. I was seventeen years of age, and went through all the trials and tribulations of a frosh, in those days at OAC, and believe me they were pretty stiff. We were given special little caps to
wear, which we hated. And we had to wear them all the time, and we had to salute every sophomore we met, and then we’re – the day of initiation came along and they were wicked. The year before had had a terrible initiation. The were put into - a the huge big tub was built on the campus, filled with mud and manure, and the freshmen were slid – slid down a long trough and landed smack – blindfolded – and smack in this filthy muck. Well they – they protested to such an extent that the initiation in our year was a bit milder, but it was – it was quite severe.
Gr I suppose I could stop you right now – this is very good – excellent – wonderful. What purpose do you think, did it – did it serve? Or did it serve any useful purpose?
Ga None at all.
Gr Yeh
Ga Far as I was concerned (chuckle) it was a nuisance, and something we had to tolerate, and all of us hated that. This business of it being helpful to climatize you to OAC life was, to my – our opinion was crazy. We hated it all – regretted it as a matter of fact.
Gr You don’t think there is any possibility, that as a year, it knitted you together …
Ga No…I – personally, I didn’t, but I was - perhaps, I was a bit a loner in that respect, but it certainly didn’t help me any to do that.
Gr Right. Yeh.
Ga That was the reason I came to OAC, but I didn’t stick to it, because I turned to science.
Gr Yeh. Right. Yeh.
Ga The early days at OAC were – were pretty grim, actually, because there were quite a few things we didn’t like. For instance, twice a week we were delegated to go on student labour. And we were paid seven cents an hour at the start, and we spent all afternoon, either cleaning out pig pens, pulling turnips, polishing harness, and various other jobs, and after a year we were given nine cents an hour. And all of us hated that business, because it didn’t teach us anything. Most of us were – been on farms and we knew all (chuckle) about turnips and things.
Gr Yeh.
Ga So – but, that was one aspect we didn’t like, but, however, we did earn a bit of money …and money helped in those days.
Gr Yeh. Well, that was an option, as far as I was concerned, but…
Ga Did they have it when you were there?
Gr Well, yes. You had student labour …
Ga Well, that’s student labour…
Gr …so it wasn’t a – a compulsory thing…
Ga Well, it was compulsory with us.
Gr But it was compulsory with you, and I can understand that.
Ga Oh, yes…
Gr Right.
Ga … it was compulsory. Yeh. Yeh. And we had some very vivid experiences as - especially as freshmen. “Flag Day” was the terrible day when a pole was put up on the campus and a flag was tied to it. And I can never remember whether we were supposed to protect the flag or attack it. I can’t remember that, but it – it resulted in a terrible fight between the freshmen and the sophomores. And our clothes would be torn off, and we were an awful mess, but one of us – one year had – had to win. I can never remember which one did win, but that was an awful experience. A thing we did like, however, which is later stopped, was the field day. Field Day was a tremendous day at OAC. One whole day was allotted to all sorts of athletic activities – running and jumping and all the rest. There were prizes. And that was really quite something, and the winners would go on and take part in track meets at Toronto University – Western – McMaster. And we all looked forward to that, but that was dropped later, and I think it was a great shame, that we didn’t continue that. At the time it was - we looked forward to it a great deal. It was always held on the front campus, in front of the old residence.
Gr Hmhm. Yeh. And you were in the old residence too?
Ga Yes. We were in the old residence and we lived in “Upper Hunt” which was falling apart. There were rats and cockroaches, plenty along the…
Gr Even in Upper Hunt?
Ga One of the most – one of the most outstanding things I remember among student activity was the terrible fight on St. Patrick’s Day that was up there. That was awful. I mean, all the students took part and they stripped the clothes of
everybody and they were scattered all over the campus. All the students running around just in their underwear.
Gr (chuckle) They even left their underwear on, then eh?
Ga Well, in some cases they had to, but anyway, the girls were all there watching –watching from the windows of Mac Hall and – oh, that was a terrible day. It was a disgrace actually.
Gr (Chuckle) And that was St. Patrick’s – and that wasn’t necessarily Protestants versus…
Ga No. No. Just a -just a day to have a – have an out…
Gr Yeh. Right.
Ga I think that another day happened a little later that implicated me. After I graduated, I was Dean of residence, and that was the day of the great Bedoes affair. When this big six foot four Englishman, as cocky as could be, and he came from an aristocratic family – how he came to OAC and threw his weight around, and he was hated by his classmates. And eventually, they got fed up with him. They auctioned him off in a pig trade, downtown in the square. And that was in Dr. Reynolds time.
Gr Yeh
Ga And it – oh it got in the Star, and was reported and all the rest of it, and Dr. Reynolds called me in and said, “What are you going to do about it?” and I said, “What can (chuckle) I do about it?” I said, “I never knew anything - it happened -‘til it was over.”
Gr Yeh.
Ga He was furious, oh, boy …he was furious…just trembling with rage.
Gr Yeh
Ga And, however, Bedoes stuck it out, but his uncle was in the House of Lords in England, and he had - he had the right to be a bit snobbish, I guess.
Gr OK. That was right. Yeh. Yeh. He wasn’t – there is a columnist now, isn’t there? Dick Bedoes?
Ga Yes, Dick Bedoes.
Gr Is that any relation?
Ga No. No.
Gr OK. Well, that’s - that’s terrific. Um, so you didn’t say anything about food though. – dining-wise…
Ga Oh, it was – it was pretty bad in some respects. They – every Sunday night they had a Welsh Rarebit-type of cheese concoction. And we’d come along Sunday night and the minute we entered the dining hall, we could smell it. We’d all turn around and walk away.
Gr (chuckle)
Ga And then in the fourth year at that time were – they’d been on to the war, and they were a pretty rambunctious bunch – but I’ve seen them take up – they used to serve a great big fish every so often – on Friday. I’m afraid, I’ve seen them take that fish and just heave it right out of the window.
Gr (chuckle)
Ga Oh, yeh. Some of the meals were terrible. They were all served by waitresses.
Gr Yeh.
Ga And, uh, we knew them all very well, and they were all – they were all very kind and all the rest of it…but, some of the food was dreadful. Dreadful food.
Gr Better not let Katy Beck hear that though…
Ga Aw. She has good food.
Gr She would – she wouldn’t be there then, though?
Ga No, she was there later. She’s a good friend of mine.
Gr Well, you see I can tell you a side effect to that was the – by the time – well, ’36 was when I came in, and um, so, great depression, or the midst of it, and all the rest of it, so, oyster soup was a second choice on Sunday – on Sunday night, and the boys – you talk about your – your Welsh Rarebit – the boys would come in and see the - see the big soup tureens and boom, they’d just turn around. Well, it so happened that my parents had a – had a closing Euchre Club festivity or – whatever you want to call it – and (chuckle) oyster soup was on the menu. And I got to enjoy oysters, I really loved them – and I still do. So I got – fish out all the oysters, with little - very little liquid. Probably there’d be only two or three left at the table.
Ga Well, the actually the manners of the students were pretty bad, because they used to throw buns the whole length of the dining hall, hitting other people in the ear and all the rest of it. And I remember one night, they had a soup tureen there, and one of the – one of my classmates, actually, very deftly, suddenly pulled a mouse out of the soup. Held it up. Several of the boys nearly fainted. Some of them walked right out. They were just sick, when they saw it. (laughter)
Gr Obviously, very deftly, as you put it. He probably pulled it out of his pocket to do it.
Ga He pull – he pulled it out of the soup and it was dripping…when he pulled it up.
Gr So, actually, what you’re suggesting, maybe the present generation isn’t any bad –really inherits a lot of the …
Ga Well, I think they probably behave a lot better, and they’re certainly treated a lot better, than they were then. Of course you know, in those days, I mean – education was pretty cheap…
Gr Oh, yeh. Well, of course the saying was, when I – when I was there, and through the dirty thirt – well, I only started in in ’36, but you couldn’t afford to eat at home.
Ga No. Oh, no.
Gr And I guess, probably, this was sort of – the oysters …They used to come in these island tins, you know, and this was to help the - the Maritime situation. Right. Well, we’ve just about covered everything, there. But, what about – you mentioned Professor Jones.
Ga Yes.
Gr Obviously, he had some influence or – on you. …
Ga Yes. Well, he was a – he was an Englishman, and he had been trained in England in Bacteriology, and he also was a fine painter. He has – he has beautiful stuff
Gr Yeh. Right
Ga He was a very fine chap…he was rough and gruff, but very kind…
Gr Yeh. Yeh.
Ga He was responsible my coming back on the staff. I worked at Department of Public Health in Toronto, and one day I got a telephone from Dan Jones and he says, “Oh,” he says, “I’m not very well. I need ya.”
Gr Yeh.
Ga So um, I quit the job in Toronto. Went back to Guelph. That’s where I started.
Gr Would there be any other professors that would stand out in your mind?
Ga Oh well, yes. Old Blackwood was a great old guy, and uh, old “Tubby” Dean, as he was called – head of the Dairy Department. He was a great chap. Um, Bill Sprole.
Gr Is there anything particular about each of these? - that you can think of.
Ga Not necessarily. No. They were all good teachers, and I found very helpful, when you got into trouble or something. They were all good, though.
Gr Yeh.
Ga Uh, one of the strictest chaps, hardest to get along with was – was Professor Toole.
Gr …Yeh. Yeh. Is - would that be the reason why Professor Knox got to be much the same?
Ga I think so.
Gr (chuckle) He was – he was indoctrinated in the same school, eh?
Ga Yes. Yes.
Gr He was one of the ones that were kind of (chuckle) hard and outspoken about certain things.
Ga Yes. He was. Yes.
Gr Yeh, Blackwood. Of course he – he was great in the soccer, wasn’t he?
Ga That’s right. Yeh.
Gr And shooting.
Ga Yes, he and I used to belong to the same shooting club. We - he was in charge of the rifle range and the students and – I used to do a lot of shooting. I won twenty-one spoons and a gold medal and for shooting. We used to shoot uh, once or twice a week.
Gr So where does this fit in with the present Gun Laws that we’re worrying about?
Ga Yes. I don’t know.
Gr That was a real sport in your day.
Ga Oh, yes. Definitely.
Gr Where was the shooting range then?
Ga I forget where it was at first, but secondly it was in our second building, there. The Air Force Building. They had a rifle range down below there. The one near Mac - Mac Institute. A beautiful rifle range down there.
Gr Yeh.
Ga I forget where the first one was.
Gr I – I kind of have a feeling that maybe it was in the basement of Mac Hall.
Ga It was! That’s right. It was.
Gr Yeh. Yeh. But he was great one and he - he really taught you all the things in – in uh…
Ga His favourite expression was, “E equal C over R” He used to put it on the bulletin board.
Gr Yeh. Yeh. How about Bob Howett?
Ga Oh. Yes. He was a – he was a great guy. He was a good lecturer though. He was a good lecturer. He’d pound it into you.
Gr Yeh. And he’d not only that – but he was a great one to get questions out of you.
Ga Oh, yes. Yes.
Gr I can remember him - him twiddling his ear. – “You.”
Ga Yes.
Gr And that was - you were supposed to do the answering.
Gr Were there any particular… well, we kind of half touched on them, but were there any particular rules that you disliked, or – badly disliked?
Ga Well, I – most of the chaps – didn’t apply to me, but most of the chaps thought the rules regarding, having a drink, occasionally – and visiting the girls in Mac Hall were too strict but, it didn’t bother me, because I didn’t drink and I didn’t visit the girls either
Gr Yeh.
Ga They were pretty – pretty rigid in Reynolds time. He was very strict. He was a very fair man, but oh, boy he was strict. He was of the old school…
Gr Yeh. (chuckle) No, I - I think the whole thing – well, they had rules of course, even later on that - one of the things that I don’t think ever did us that much harm, was – you know we didn’t go in the dining room without a jacket…
Ga No. No, no.
Gr Clothing was – was not pretentious, but at least it was always neat and tidy.
Ga Now the students go in anything.…dreadful
Gr What about O. J. Stevenson? Was he around when you…
Ga Oh, yes. He was a fine chap…
Gr Yeh. Wasn’t he though?
Ga I – we used to go and visit him a lot.
Gr Did ya? Right
Ga Yes. I was very keenly interested in books and literature, and so on…
Gr Music, particularly.
Ga Yes, music too, and he was a fine chap. Both he and his wife…We used to go – we used to go over there, sometimes once – once a week to hear him talk. He was a get chap. I – I have a book of his, that he published, and he gave to me somewhere up there in that list…
Gr Yeh. Right. What about McConkey?
Ga He was - he was a joke.
Gr Right.
Ga He used to drive his car down in front of the old Bacteriology Building, and then, when he got there, he’d turn it off and coast rest of the way in order to save gas.
Gr Right. Well, who else do I remember that you probably know more about? I noted too, that Art Runions was a classmate of …
Ga Yes. He was a classmate, of mine.
Gr I knew him reasonably well. But F. J. Webster was one of the chaps that I started out with. He was – he was Ag Rep down in – in Prince Edward County and – and I don’t think – I don’t know where the connection came, but he and Bunny Runions, I think it was…
Ga Bunny Runions, yes.
Gr He’d spout off about Runions all the time. And then of course, Jack McCaig was another…
Ga Yes. Yes.
Gr I think Jack McCaig was – was a classmate of Fred Webster’s. But – but – then Frank Morwick was another classmate…
Ga Frank Morwick was a classmate –he was a marvelous – I was going to say gunner, but he went to Bisley, you know…
Gr Yeh. Right. Oh, a real shot, as it were.
Ga Yes, he was. Well, I was on the wrestling team and Doc – and Professor Unwin taught me boxing and I was in fencing, and I was in the swimming. I – I participated in most things, but they were individual sports. I didn’t take – participate in any team sports. They were all individual
Gr Which more or less (chuckle) uh, left you, or at least indicated that uh, you were the individual, and not the run of the mill…
Ga I was – I was a rebel.
Gr So, you did have activity, and then of course, (chuckle) I see too, that you were um, one of the committees you were on was – was writing up these histories, or what have you, of each individual for the Libranni.
Ga Yes.
Gr Now, did you write your own?
Ga No. Somebody else wrote that.
Gr (Laughter)
Ga I can’t… oh, Dave Vander wrote that, I think, for me.
Gr Yeh. Right. So - well - this has been very interesting and – and uh, uh, I wonder if there is anything else we should be…
Ga Oh, I can remember another – another thing that was rather frightening at the time. Uh, when the fourth year had a terrible fight with the sophomores in “Upper Hunt” and we tore down the stairways and ripped out the rails. And I remember the Dean at that time was Hal Mason – ( inaudible ) Mason, who was a chair of athletics later on – and he stood up at the head of the stairs with a club in his hand. He said, “I’ll brain the first fellow who steps across this – We beat it.
Gr (chuckle) Yeh.
Ga That was – that was a wicked thing. We just tore the building in half just ripped it down. They’d never think of doing that to-day.
Gr Yeh Well I don’t know about that. (Laughter)
Ga Well, I hope they wouldn’t anyway.
Gr Yeh, right. Did you have anything, to do – well, what about – oh the seniour residence, as I knew it, Mills Hall. And then, of course, Mem Hall would be up and running…
Ga Yes.
Gr Well, it would be – it would be in the course of building when you just first started there.
Ga Yes, that’s right
Gr Do you know any of the stories that surround …
Ga No. I can’t remember anything to do with it, except that the – the boys got to work, and did most of the work themselves – shovels and picks and one thing and another.
Gr One of the stories that – that I got, and I think it was from Moff Coburn, who was uh, well, he was Ag Rep, as I knew him, and I later got to know quite a bit of him, one way and another, but uh, of course, he maintained that they went out in the dark – well, there was so much controversy as to where and when Mem Hall was going to be there, and all the rest of it that I guess they organized in the dark of the night. They went out and sawed the trees down.
Ga That’s right I heard that.
Gr …but you didn’t witness it?
Ga No, no. I didn’t .
Gr No. Right. So that was always one – one of the stories that I would hear.
Ga Course, some of the – some of the chaps, now were pretty bold and brash, because there was a group there used to periodically go out and steal the hens down in the Poultry Department - and eggs.
Gr (chuckle) Right. Yeh. So I suppose then (chuckle) maybe we can’t point the finger at the present generation for all its sins of commission that… You see the days when I was there, well, we were right into the - when I started – right in the midst of the - of the Depression. We just didn’t have any money.
Ga We were in what I suppose – in the transition stage, actually, because the– it was changing over to way things are – are run now.
Gr Yeh. Right.
Ga And, I mean, the ideas of having student labour and – and cleaning out the barns and all that sort of thing was …
Gr Well, I was - strictly an option to make a bit of pin money.
Ga Well, it wasn’t any option when I was …
Gr No. Right. I can under – well, as a matter of fact, one of my classmates – lived next door to me – he worked down in the beef barn and I’m telling ya it wasn’t a very pleasant in fact to go into his room.
Ga I usedto work in the beef farm. I tried to persuade them to give me jobs doing with fruit and vegetables. I was used to that, but the bit pulling turnips was the (chuckle) only thing I got.
Gr Yeh, yeh. Well, I remember going out one time, too, and – and topping turnips with the hoe and that sort of thing. And then they were ploughed out afterwards.
Ga Yeh.
Gr Yeh. Well this sounds very good, Eddie.
Ga I’ll probably remember a lot more things (chuckle) after you go.
Gr Well, I should be on my way, but you covered most of the points that – that I thought we should exercise and so on, that…
Ga Well, it was – it was kind of a happy existence, but it was pretty rough.
Gr Yeh.
Ga Pretty rough. There were no uh, I mean, none of us had very much money, and we couldn’t dress very – you know
Gr Yeh. Well you got to the – at least you got on the Conversat Committee.
Ga Oh, yes.
Gr You must have had money to …– that you dressed up then for?
Ga …I used to work in the uh, Library overtime, and also I got money from CODC
Gr Yeh. Well, at any rate, this has been very good, Eddie and – and I appreciate very much, this opportunity to get this. I hope – I hope that Florence Partiridge, when she hears – listens to this, that she’ll think that was well done.
Ga She’ll probably think there was a lot of things I should have told. (chuckle)
Gr Yeh. Or could have told. Well, I’ll make sure that she does listen. I’ll come back and get them.
Ga Sixty-nine years ago, you know.
Gr Well, that’s it!
Ga … quite a time.
Gr Sixty-nine years, isn’t that right, and here I am, just coming up to our “golden oldie” (chuckle)

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