Devitt, O. E.

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Devitt, O. E.

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  • Ott Devitt
  • Otto Edmund Devitt

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Otto Edmund Devitt (1904-1992), best known as “Ott” grew up in the Stayner/Wasaga sector of Simcoe County. He married Mary MacKay (d. 1991) and were residents of Richmond Hill.

A Pharmacist by profession, Devitt worked for many years at the T. Eaton Co., Ltd. Store in downtown Toronto as a dispensing chemist. In the early 1950s, Devitt changed careers and worked at the then Ministry of Natural Resources putting him in charge of the Fish and Wildlife library at the Ministry’s District office in Maple, Ontario; a job he held until his retirement in 1970s.

Devitt’s interests and activities were widespread. They included those of diarist, collector, photographer, speaker, ornithologist, and botanist. He produced more than 70 articles embracing a wide range of topics. One of these was The Birds of Simcoe County, originally published in 1943, with a revised edition sponsored by the Brereton Field Naturalists in 1967. He had a special interest in Michigan's Kirtland's Warbler, and presented a paper on this species to the Toronto Ornithological- Club. He was the first local naturalist to find and photograph the nest of the Yellow Rail. He had found the nest himself in the Holland Marsh, just east of Bradford. He photographed almost every species of fern and orchid in Ontario.

Devitt was a founding member of the Toronto Ornithological Club; other memberships he held were of the Toronto Field Naturalists, the Brodie Club and the Richmond Hill Naturalists. Additional interests of his were in Biology, Archaeology and as a local historian.


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2/13/2023 E. Thomas (Creation)
2/13/2023 E. Thomas (Biographical Sketch added.)




Cranmer-Byng, Jack, and Martin K. McNicholl. Ornithology in Ontario. Whitby, Ont.: Hawk Owl, 1994.
"Ott Devitt." Toronto Ornithological Club Newsletter 22 (1992): 1. Print.
Bennett, G. "Otto Edmund Devitt." Toronto Ornithological Club Newsletter 24 (1992): 3. Print.
Bennett, G. "In Memoriam: Otto Edmund Devitt (1904-1992)." Ontario Birds 10 (1992): 80. Print.

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