The Great Canadian Antique Tractor Field Days

By Staff
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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.

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