When the First World War broke out in 1914, many Ontario Dental Society (ODS) members enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. In 1915, ODS members Edmund Grant, Richard Hull, Orvil Elliott and George Gow did their part for the war effort when they were tasked with launching and operating a dental clinic to treat new recruits on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. Open seven days a week, the clinic played an important role in restoring the teeth and oral health of Canada’s soldiers.
Inadvertently, the clinic also aided the Canadian Dental Association’s push to form a separate dental branch within the military. Soon after the Exhibition Clinic opened, Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia, made an official inspection of the grounds. A few weeks later, honorary lieutenants Grant and Hull received an order from Hughes to come to his headquarters in Ottawa to report on the dental fitness of recruits. There they learned the excellent performance of the Exhibition Clinic was a key factor in Hughes’ decision to form the Canadian Army Dental Corps.