Andrew Smith graduated from Edinburgh Veterinary College in 1861 and came to Canada that year. In 1862, he started lectures on veterinary science. This led to the founding of the Upper Canada Veterinary School (later Ontario Veterinary College) in Toronto. The college (now part of the University of Guelph) is the oldest of its kind in Canada and the United States. Smith graduated more than 3,000 veterinarians during his 40-year tenure as principal.
A pioneer of veterinary medicine and education in North America, Smith was a great promoter of his profession. He was the first president of the Ontario Veterinary Association and a prime mover for its organization (1874) and incorporation (1879). He was a founder of what is now the Canadian National Exhibition.