Sunday, July 14, 2024
NewsTop Story

Dr. Roly Armitage, former Shawville veterinarian,dies at 99

Former Shawville veterinarian Dr. Roly Armitage passed away in Ottawa last week at the age of 99.
Through most of the 1950s and 60s, Dr. Armitage was a Shawville-based veterinarian, well-known throughout the Pontiac and beyond as a Standardbred horse enthusiast.
Dr. Armitage set up his veterinary practice in Shawville shortly after graduating from Guelph Veterinary College in 1951. He and his wife Mary (Spearman) raised their children Mick, Ann, Blake and Donnie in Shawville where he was very active in community life and named Citizen of the Year in 1960.
In 1968, he moved to Dunrobin, Ont. where he was a Standardbred owner, breeder and manager of Armstead Farms, along with sons Blake and Donald. He lived in Dunrobin until the age of 98 when he moved to Perley Rideau Veterans Residence in Ottawa in Oct. 2023 where he lived until his passing last Wednesday.
The former Pontiac veterinarian was also a World War II veteran. Serving with the 3rd Medium Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery, he landed in Normandy shortly after D-Day in June 1944 and participated in the Battle of Normandy through to the Liberation of Holland in 1945. He has since made numerous trips to France and Holland for post-war commemorative ceremonies, and was very disappointed to miss the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landing earlier this month due to ill health.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Armitage served as president of the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society and the Canadian Trotting Association, mayor of West Carleton and general manager of Rideau Carleton Raceway. He was a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Order of Ottawa, Order of Ontario and was inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.
A celebration of life will be held at the Highland Park Funeral Home in Carp from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.
For more on the life of Dr. Armitage, please see At almost 100, Roly Armitage’s Second World War memories remain vivid (THE EQUITY, June 12, 2024), Drive on, gentlemen (THE EQUITY, July 19, 2023), and Chris Judd’s column Out standing in his field on page 4 of this week’s Equity.


This article is available free to all subscribers to The Equity. If you are a subscriber, please enter your email address and password below.


If you are a subscriber but have not yet set up your online account, please contact Liz Draper at to do so.


To become a subscriber to The Equity, please use our Subscribe page or contact