DUNROBIN – A lifetime of service to his community and his country has earned Dr. Roland ‘Roly’ Armitage the Order of Ontario.
Yesterday (Jan. 1) the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, announced 22 new appointments to the 2019 Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour, and Armitage is on the list.
“A decorated Second World War veteran, devoted veterinarian and published author, Dr. Roly Armitage served as mayor of West Carleton Township and is a dedicated leader in his community,” Dowdeswell released in a statement yesterday. “He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame for his efforts to advance the sport and improve track safety in Canada. Today (Jan. 1) I called 2019 Order of Ontario appointee Dr. Roland “Roly” Armitage, of Dunrobin to offer my personal congratulations. At 95 Roly is a decorated Second World War veteran, community leader, and author.”
Dowdeswell also congratulated the 22 inductees in a video message.
“It is my privilege to congratulate the order’s newest members for their extensive and remarkable accomplishments,” she said. “The Crown in Ontario bestows upon them its highest distinction.”
Armitage was a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery, serving on the Western Front of the European Theatre. Following the war, he obtained Veterinary Medicine and Doctor of Veterinary Surgeon degrees from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. As a veterinarian, Dr. Armitage specialized in and cared for thousands of horses.
A leader in both local and national horseracing, Armitage, 95, served as president of the Canadian Trotting Association from 1976 to 1981, and then as general manager of the Rideau-Carleton Raceway from 1981 to 1991.
He served as mayor of the Township of West Carleton before amalgamation with the City of Ottawa and as a member of the Council of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton from 1991 to 1994. He was the general manager of the Carp Airport for 10 years. He is a published author, having written a trilogy of autobiographical books about his life as a proud Canadian, a heroic war veteran and a dedicated veterinarian.
A strong community-builder, Dr. Armitage contributed to the development of the Carp Farmers’ Market and creation of various shops, a café and a state-of-the-art retirement residence in the centre of the village of Carp. In 2011, Dr. Armitage joined the West Carleton War Memorial Project committee, successfully developing a Carp Cenotaph to honour residents of West Carleton-March who died during the First World War and the Second World War.
Dr. Armitage is an inductee of the Canada Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. In 2007, the Carp Airport terminal was renamed the Roly Armitage Terminal after its former general manager. In 2011, a hall in the West Carleton Community Complex was named the Dr. Roland Armitage Hall in commemoration of his outstanding service and achievements.
To see the entire list of inductees, which also includes Ottawa Valley politician Sean Conway who spent 28 years as MPP of Renfrew-Pembroke-Nipissing, can be found here.