History / Evolution of the Fair

The Beaver Valley Agricultural Society is the oldest organization in our community. It formed in 1870, as the Collingwood Township Agricultural Society, with those original members breaking off from the Euphrasia Township Agricultural Society which had formed almost a decade earlier.

The agricultural societies in Ontario formed with an eye to improving farm stock and crops, with this particular area’s climate being well suited to the production of pasture to feed the various cattle, horses, sheep and swine of those pioneering farmers, plus having excellent grain-producing qualities.

“I have long been of the opinion that much benefit would result to farmers by often meeting at this season of the year and comparing their experiences,” wrote William J. Marsh, the society’s first president, in his annual address in 1878.

From 1850, when Thornbury was little more than a sawmill, to 1870, when the agricultural society formed, Collingwood Township grew to have 3,576 people on 557 farms with 17,055 acres under crop, according to the census records. This fast became a thriving agricultural community.

The agricultural society renamed itself in 1967, becoming the Clarksburg Agricultural Society, in honour of Canada’s centennial year and because the fall fair was held in Clarksburg. When the fall fair moved in 1972 to the Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury, another name change was in order and it became the Beaver Valley Agricultural Society.

The purpose of the annual fall fair hasn’t changed much over the last century and a half. People still show their various homecrafts, baking and preserves, bring their fruits and vegetables, flowers, and hay and grain crops. Animals are still a mainstay, though the huge numbers of cattle, horses, chickens, sheep and pigs that crowded the fairgrounds before the First World War has obviously seen changes.

The fall fair is more than just farmers comparing their annual notes on livestock and crop success and failure. In the days before the telephone, never mind the Internet, people had to meet to communicate. Now we choose to meet to celebrate the annual harvest, to educate tourists and residents alike on our farming history and culture, to promote the local agricultural industry and lifestyle, and to celebrate our community’s life and pride by providing the longest-running community event in The Blue Mountains.

Long Live The Beaver Valley Fall Fair!

Beaver Valley Agricultural Society - Past Presidents

  • 1870-1880 William J. Marsh
  • 1881-1882 Andrew Shore
  • 1882-1895 William Hewgill
  • 1896-1897 Dickenson Hewgill
  • 1898-1899 Andrew Shore
  • 1900-1903 Thomas McMurchy
  • 1904-1909 John G. Mitchell
  • 1910-1911 Bruce Hamilton
  • 1912-1913 Elisha Parkinson
  • 1914-1915 D.H. Shore
  • 1916-1917 John W. McDonald
  • 1918-1919 James McConnell
  • 1920-1921 Frank Brownlee
  • 1922-1923 Bruce Hamilton
  • 1924-1925 Burton Carefoot
  • 1926-1927 Emerson Brown
  • 1928-1929 Amos Kentner
  • 1930-1931 William J. Hammond
  • 1932-1933 Leonard Atkins
  • 1934-1935 David A. Cook
  • 1936-1937 Frank Ruthven
  • 1938-1939 Clifford W. Hewgill
  • 1940-1941 Douglas Hammond
  • 1942-1943 Thomas P. Armstrong
  • 1944-1945 R.H. (Bert) French
  • 1946-1947 Douglas Hammond
  • 1948-1949 A.E. (Fred) Reekie
  • 1950-1951 W.O. Fawcett
  • 1952-1953 William O. Neely
  • 1954-1955 David L. Reekie
  • 1956-1957 Capt. L.S. Darling
  • 1958-1960 Royden Hunter
  • 1961-1962 Edwin White
  • 1963-1964 J. Wesley Wheeler
  • 1965-1966 William M. Armstrong
  • 1967-1968 Ian C. Shaw
  • 1969-1971 Earl Holmes
  • 1972 Mac McGugan
  • 1973-1975 H.H. (Dick) Hewgill
  • 1976-1977 Douglas Hammond
  • 1978-1980 Francis McKinlay
  • 1981-1982 Robert Taylor
  • 1983 Blair Ardiel
  • 1984-1985 Robert MacDairmid
  • 1986-1987 Dan Rawn
  • 1988-1989 Nora Teed-Booth
  • 1990-1992 Harvey McMurchy
  • 1993-1994 Margot Johnson
  • 1995-1996 Dan Rawn
  • 1997-1998 Randy Woodhouse
  • 1999-2000 Linda Teed
  • 2001-2003 Audrey Edwards
  • 2004-2005 Amy Teed-Acres
  • 2006 Terri Robbins
  • 2007-2008 Jennifer Cornell
  • 2009-2010 Richard Griffith
  • 2011-2012 Peggy Slama
  • 2013-2014 Heather Kehoe
  • 2015-2016 Sherrie Lee

Beaver Valley Agricultural Society - Past Secretaries

  • 1870-1880 William Hewgill
  • 1881-1901 Charles Pye
  • 1921-1939 J.J. Buchanan
  • 1939 Ernest H. Boyle
  • 1939-1949 Clifford W. Hewgill
  • 1950-1953 Robert J. Heslip
  • 1954-1968 Edna Hewgill
  • 1968 June Darling
  • 1969-1971 Elvie Dalton
  • 1971-1975 Gladys Atkins
  • 1976-1977 Pat McLean
  • 1978-1979 Nan Maitland
  • 1980-1999 Ruth Forsythe
  • 2000-2001 K. Marshall, D. Chittick
  • 2001-2002 C. Stevenson, D. Chittick
  • 2002-2005 Nancy Cichon
  • 2005- Stella Zahradnik

Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies - Service Award Winners

Each year, the Beaver Valley Agricultural Society nominates a dedicated volunteer to be the recipient of the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies Service Award. Below is a list of past winners.

  • 1979 Dorothy Carr
  • 1980 Douglas Hammond
  • 1981 Grace Hammond
  • 1982 Gladys Atkins
  • 1983 Jean and Earl Holmes
  • 1984 E.C. Carr
  • 1985 Mary Armstrong
  • 1986 Doris Boyle
  • 1987 Doris Arthur
  • 1988 Francis McKinlay
  • 1989 Muriel and Ian Shaw
  • 1990 Howard Marritt
  • 1991 Maggie Black
  • 1992 Nora (Teed) Booth
  • 1993 Lee Leedham
  • 1994 Vi Hutchinson
  • 1995 Birdie Winters
  • 1996 Ruth Forsythe
  • 1997 Audrey and Ernie Farrar
  • 1998 Irene McDonald
  • 1999 Daniel Rawn
  • 2000 Jo Thatcher
  • 2001 Audrey and Alice Hoggard
  • 2002 not awarded
  • 2003 Margot Johnson
  • 2004 Audrey Edwards
  • 2005 Robert Taylor & Harvey McMurchy
  • 2006 not awarded
  • 2007 Marjorie Knott & Eileen Weber
  • 2008 Randy Woodhouse
  • 2009 Bruce Woodhouse and Lois Plummer
  • 2010 Glenn and Joan Smith
  • 2011 Clive and Brenda Prentice
  • 2012 Faye Myles & Arlene Osborne
  • 2013 Diana McGregor
  • 2014 Doris LeClair
  • 2015 Richard Griffith
  • 2016 Nancy Cichon

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