Curator of Collections Ontario Agricultural Museum P.O. Box38 Milton, Ontario, Canada L9T 2Y3
On July 17 and 18, 1993, the 9th annual Great Canadian Antique Tractor Field Days was held under sunny skies and perfect temperatures at the Ontario Agricultural Museum in Milton, Ontario. This event features only Canadian-made farm tractors, gas engines, steam engines and implements, making it unique in Canada, and a must for anyone interested in Canadian power.
The 1993 event was one of our best ever, with perhaps the largest assortment of equipment we have had to date. Nine steam engines were in operation over the two days of the event, including examples made by such renowned Canadian manufacturers as the Waterloo Manufacturing Company and the Sawyer-Massey Company of Hamilton. The larger sizes of the latter company were well represented, with the Museum's own 76 HP and two 68 HP engines, one of which spent the weekend operating a sawmill. Powering the edger at the sawmill was a homemade, approximately half-scale, traction engine built by Doug McIntosh of Embro, Ontario.
Forty farm tractors made in Canada put in an appearance. Included in this number were some of Canada's rarest tractors, such as a circa 1919 Gilson, made in Guelph (one of only 3 known to have survived), a 1911 15-25 Canadian Fairbanks-Morse (likely the oldest tractor in Ontario), a Massey-Harris No. 2 and the extremely rare Massey-Harris No. 3 (one of only two known), a Till-soil (made in Regina, Saskatchewan) and a Robert Bell 'Imperial' made in Seaforth, the only one left in Ontario and a DuPont 'Classic Tractor' in 1994.
Canada's two premier tractor makers, Cockshutt Plow Company and Massey-Harris Company Limited, were of course well represented (this show will host the International Cockshutt Club's 1995 Annual Meeting), and several little Waterloo 'Bronco' tractors could be seen touring our show area.
Gasoline engines continue to be difficult to attract to this event, despite the wide number which were made in Canada, and their popularity today among collectors. We hope to attract more of these in future years. Nonetheless, over 20 put in an appearance in 1993, including some made by the Monarch Engine Company of Dunnville, Ontario, Magnet of Hamilton, Canadian Fairbanks-Morse, the Guelph-made Gilson and the rare Tuerk from Berlin (now Kitchner), Ontario.
Two new major features were introduced to the Field Days in 1993. The Ontario Agricultural Museum Farm Toy Show and Sale premiered, and was declared a great success by event coordinators and toy collectors alike. Sixty tables were booked by vendors and collectors, using up every available table on the grounds! Big things are expected of this feature in the future as word spreads.
We also ventured into new territory with a Restoration Trade Fair, featuring seven vendors of tractor/engine parts and supplies, restoration services from sandblasting to total restoration services and clubs related to special makes of tractors. We will be aggressively working towards improvements for 1994 in number of vendors, location, and our promotion of this element of the 'Great Canadian'.
Attendance was up ten percent over the previous year, a great improvement considering the continuing recession in Canada. We hope to achieve similar growth in 1994! Our dates for this coming year, our 10th annual event, will be July 16 and 17. Camping is available and the wide range of activities at the 'Great Canadian' are supplemented by the rest of the Ontario Agricultural Museum's 80 acre site, featuring historic farms, a period crossroad community and a variety of exhibits related to the history of agriculture and rural life in Ontario.