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James A. Hutchison

July 25, 1926 - October 2, 2017

James Hutchison: July 25, 1926 - October 2, 2017

Service Date: November 25, 2017

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Hutchison – James

Ottawa, Ontario – Dr. James Alexander Hutchison died peacefully on October 2, 2017 at the age of 91.

He leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Cecilia Rachel Hutchison, his two daughters, Tracey Enright and Penelope Hutchison, son in laws Paul Enright and Stuart Poyntz, sisters Betty Joyce and Ruth Wright, grandson Hamish Hutchison-Poyntz, many loving nieces and nephews and thousands of grateful pet owners and their animals whom he cared for as their veterinarian for close to 50 years.

Jim found his passion for animal welfare early in life. He was the youngest veterinarian to graduate from the University of Guelph’s Veterinary College in 1947, the first veterinarian to have his own practice at the Ottawa Humane Society in 1953, and in 1958, co-founded what is now the largest veterinary hospital in Eastern Ontario – the Alta Vista Animal Hospital. As an eye specialist, he saved the sight of animals referred to him from across Ontario.

He was Ottawa’s James Herriot. Chief veterinarian for the likes of the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, The Save the Children Dog Show, numerous shows and sled dog races, and several Governor Generals and Prime Ministers. Governor General Vincent Massey so respected Jim’s dedication to animals that Massey bequeathed his portrait of his beloved dog to Jim – a painting which sat in pride of place on the wall of Jim’s living room for decades.

Jim championed the welfare of his furry friends large and small. One summer a group of swallows built a nest in Jim’s garage. He refused to let his family close the garage door and it stayed open all winter until birds finally flew away the following spring.

He was so well-loved and respected that the Ottawa Humane Society honoured his work by creating the Dr. James Hutchison Animal Welfare Award which each year is awarded to a veterinarian who defends and cares for the well-being of animals.

Jim was a charter member of the Rotary Club of South Ottawa from its inception in 1967. It was said that he was a quiet force behind many major Rotary projects, such as Rotel, a non-profit motel for families of Ottawa hospital patients. The Club dedicated a bursary to honour his community commitment in 2004. Every year, the James A. Hutchison Award is given to a Hillcrest High School student. Along with an honourary lifetime achievement award from his Rotary Club, in 1981, Jim received the highest award any Rotarian could earn, the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

He was known endearingly as “Hutch” or “Dr. H” by friends and colleagues. A kind and humble man, Jim was also well-loved for his dry sense of humour, which came out in force every Wednesday and Saturday, where you’d find him at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club playing a round of golf, followed by a round of martinis with the boys in the clubhouse.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 1 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Church, 2400 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa. All who knew and loved him are welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Ottawa Humane Society. Condolences or tributes may be made at

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