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Calgary veterinarians pay tribute to their colleagues’ service during First World War

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WATCH: Calgarians could soon have a new way to check out the important role veterinarians have played in Canadian history. As Gil Tucker reports, some Calgary vets are now working on a tribute to what their colleagues did here at home and on the battlefields of Europe during the First World War – Nov 12, 2018

Some Calgary veterinarians are working on a project to share the story of the important role their colleagues played on the battlefields of Europe more than a century ago.

About 300 veterinarians left Canada to serve alongside the soldiers in the First World War, taking care of the thousands of horses used by allied forces in the conflict.

“The horse and mule teams were essential to the war effort,” Dr. Dan French said.

READ MORE: From horses to carrier pigeons, millions of war animals saved lives

French is part of a team of veterinarians now working with Calgary’s Heritage Park to establish a new permanent exhibit at the historical village.

The exhibit would show the vets’ contributions not only during the war, but also throughout the early years of European settlement in Alberta.

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“They were pretty critical to the ranching industry,” Heritage Park CEO Alida Visbach said.

“And earlier than that, horses were the main sources of transportation and with agricultural development, a very important story to share.”

The group of veterinarians is now raising money to help set up the new exhibit at Heritage Park.

READ MORE: Calgarian retires after 28 years running Heritage Park’s costume department: ‘It’s been a dream job!’

If all goes well, it should open in the spring of 2019.

“It’s really exciting to think back on our colleagues that served over there,” French said. “That is an important part of our history, and look at what they taught us. It’s a great story to tell!”

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