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Title: History of Farming in Ontario
Author: James, C. C. (Charles Canniff), 1863-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Farming in Ontario" ***

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  [Illustration: Publisher's Device]










  [Illustration: Publisher's Device]


This Volume consists of a Reprint, for private circulation only, of the
One Hundred and Sixteenth Signed Contribution contained in CANADA AND
ITS PROVINCES, a History of the Canadian People and their Institutions
by One Hundred Associates.

Adam Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty, General Editors



From the most southern point of Ontario on Lake Erie, near the 42nd
parallel of latitude, to Moose Factory on James Bay, the distance is
about 750 miles. From the eastern boundary on the Ottawa and St Lawrence
Rivers to Kenora at the Manitoba boundary, the distance is about 1000
miles. The area lying within these extremes is about 220,000 square
miles. In 1912 a northern addition of over 100,000 square miles was made
to the surface area of the province, but it is doubtful whether the
agricultural lands will thereby be increased. Of this large area about
25,000,000 acres are occupied and assessed, including farm lands and
town and city sites. It will be seen, therefore, that only a small
fraction of the province has, as yet, been occupied. Practically all the
occupied area lies south of a line drawn through Montreal, Ottawa, and
Sault Ste Marie, and it forms part of the great productive zone of the

The next point to be noted is the irregularity of the boundary-line, the
greater portion of which is water--Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, Ontario,
the St Lawrence River, the Ottawa River, James Bay, and Hudson Bay. The
modifying effect of great bodies of water must be considered in studying
the agricultural possibilities of Ontario.

Across this great area of irregular outline there passes a branch of
the Archæan rocks running in a north-western direction and forming a
watershed, which turns some of the streams to Hudson Bay and the others
to the St Lawrence system. An undulating surface has resulted, more or
less filled with lakes, and almost lavishly supplied with streams, which
are of prime importance for agricultural life and of incalculable value
for commercial purposes. To these old rocks which form the backbone of
the province may be traced the origin of the large stretches of rich
soil with which the province abounds.

An examination of the map, and even a limited knowledge of the
geological history of the province, will lead to the conclusion that in
Ontario there must be a wide range in the nature and composition of the
soils and a great variety in the climatic conditions. These conditions
exist, and they result in a varied natural production. In the extreme
south-western section plants of a semi-tropical nature were to be found
in the early days in luxurious growth; while in the extreme north,
spruce, somewhat stunted in size and toughened in fibre, are still to be
found in vast forests.

It is with the southern section, that lying south of the Laurentian
rocks, that our story is mainly concerned, for the occupation and
exploitation of the northland is a matter only of recent date. Nature
provided conditions for a diversified agriculture. It is to such a land
that for over a hundred years people of different nationalities, with
their varied trainings and inclinations, have been coming to make their
homes. We may expect, therefore, to find a great diversity in the
agricultural growth of various sections, due partly to the variety of
natural conditions and partly to the varied agricultural training of the
settlers in their homelands.


Originally this province was covered with forest, varied and extensive,
and was valued only for its game. The hunter and trapper was the
pioneer. To protect and assist him, fortified posts were constructed at
commanding points along the great waterways. In the immediate vicinity
of these posts agriculture, crude in its nature and restricted in its
area, had its beginning.

It was into this wooded wilderness that the United Empire Loyalists,
numbering in all approximately ten thousand people, came in the latter
part of the eighteenth century.[1] They were a people of varied
origins--Highland Scottish, German, Dutch, Irish Palatine, French
Huguenot, English. Most of them had lived on farms in New York State,
and therefore brought with them some knowledge and experience that stood
them in good stead in their arduous work of making new homes in a land
that was heavily wooded. In the year 1783 prospectors were sent into
Western Quebec, the region lying west of the Ottawa River, and
selections were made for them in four districts--along the St Lawrence,
opposite Fort Oswegatchie; around the Bay of Quinte, above Fort
Cataraqui; in the Niagara peninsula, opposite Fort Niagara; and in the
south-western section, within reach of Fort Detroit. Two reasons
determined these locations; first, the necessity of being located on the
water-front, as lake and river were the only highways available; and,
secondly, the advisability of being within the protection of a fortified
post. The dependence of the settlers upon the military will be realized
when we remember that they had neither implements nor seed grain. In
fact, they were dependent at first upon the government stores for their
food. It is difficult at the present time to realize the hardships and
appreciate the conditions under which these United Empire Loyalist
settlers began life in the forest of 1784.

Having been assigned their lots and supplied with a few implements, they
began their work of making small clearings and the erection of rude
log-houses and barns. Among the stumps they sowed the small quantities
of wheat, oats, and potatoes that were furnished from the government
stores. Cattle were for many years few in number, and the settler, to
supply his family with food and clothing, was compelled to add hunting
and trapping to his occupation of felling the trees.

Gradually the clearings became larger and the area sown increased in
size. The trails were improved and took on the semblance of roads, but
the waterways continued to be the principal avenues of communication. In
each of the four districts the government erected mills to grind the
grain for the settlers. These were known as the King's Mills.
Water-power mills were located near Kingston, at Gananoque, at Napanee,
and on the Niagara River. The mill on the Detroit was run by wind power.
An important event in the early years was when the head of the family
set out for the mill with his bag of wheat on his back or in his canoe,
and returned in two or three days, perhaps in a week, with a small
supply of flour. In the early days there was no wheat for export. The
question then may be asked, was there anything to market? Yes; as the
development went on, the settlers found a market for two surplus
products, timber and potash. The larger pine trees were hewn into timber
and floated down the streams to some convenient point where they were
collected into rafts, which were taken down the St Lawrence to Montreal
and Quebec. Black salt or crude potash was obtained by concentrating the
ashes that resulted from burning the brush and trees that were not
suitable for timber.

For the first thirty years of the new settlements the chief concern of
the people was the clearing of their land, the increasing of their field
crops, and the improving of their homes and furnishings. It was slow
going, and had it not been for government assistance, progress, and even
maintenance of life, would have been impossible. That was the heroic age
of Upper Canada, the period of foundation-laying in the province.
Farming was the main occupation, and men, women, and children shared the
burdens in the forest, in the field, and in the home. Roads were few and
poorly built, except the three great military roads planned by
Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe running east, west, and north from the town
of York. Social intercourse was of a limited nature. Here and there a
school was formed when a competent teacher could be secured. Church
services were held once a month, on which occasions the missionary
preacher rode into the district on horseback. Perhaps once or twice in
the summer the weary postman, with his pack on his back, arrived at the
isolated farmhouse to leave a letter, on which heavy toll had to be

Progress was slow in those days, but after thirty years fair hope of an
agricultural country was beginning to dawn upon the people when the War
of 1812 broke out. By this time the population of the province had
increased to about eighty thousand. During this first thirty years very
little had been done in the way of stimulating public interest in
agricultural work. Conditions were not favourable to organization. The
'town meeting' was concerned mainly with the question of the height of
fences and regulations as to stock running at large. One attempt,
however, was made which should be noted. Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe took
charge of affairs early in 1792, and, immediately after the close of the
first session of the legislature at Newark (Niagara) in the autumn of
that year, organized an agricultural society at the headquarters which
met occasionally to discuss agricultural questions. There are no records
to show whether social intercourse or practical agricultural matters
formed the main business. The struggle for existence was too exacting
and the conditions were not yet favourable for organization to advance
general agricultural matters.

When the War of 1812 broke out the clearings of the original settlers
had been extended, and some of the loyalists still lived, grown grey
with time and hardened by the rough life of the backwoods. Their sons,
many of whom had faint recollection of their early homes across the
line, had grown up in an atmosphere of strictest loyalty to the British
crown, and had put in long years in clearing the farms on which they
lived and adding such comforts to their houses, that to them, perhaps as
to no other generation, their homes meant everything in life. The
summons came to help to defend those homes and their province. For three
years the agricultural growth received a severe check. Fathers and sons
took their turn in going to the front. The cultivation of the fields,
the sowing and the harvesting of the crops, fell largely to the lot of
the mothers and the daughters left at home. But they were equal to it.
In those days the women were trained to help in the work of the fields.
They did men's work willingly and well. In many cases they had to
continue their heroic work after the close of the war, until their
surviving boys were grown to years of manhood, for many husbands and
sons went to the front never to return.


[1] See 'Pioneer Settlements' in this section.


The close of the war saw a province that had been checked at a time of
vigorous growth now more or less impoverished, and, in some sections,
devastated. This was, however, but the gloomy outlook before a period of
rapid expansion. In 1816, on the close of the Napoleonic wars in Europe,
large numbers of troops were disbanded, and for these new homes and new
occupations had to be found. Then began the first emigration from
Britain overseas to Upper Canada. All over the British Isles little
groups were forming of old soldiers reunited to their families. A few
household furnishings were packed, a supply of provisions laid in, a
sailing vessel chartered, and the trek began across the Atlantic. The
emigrants sailed from many ports of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Sometimes the trip was made in three or four weeks; but often, through
contrary winds or rough weather, three or four months passed before the
vessel sailed up the St Lawrence and landed the newcomers at Montreal.
Hardly half of their difficulties were then overcome or half of their
dangers passed. If they were to find their new locations by land, they
must walk or travel by slow ox-cart; if they journeyed by water, they
must make their way up the St Lawrence by open boat, surmounting the
many rapids in succession, poling the boats, pulling against the stream,
at times helping to carry heavy loads over the portages. Their new homes
in the backwoods were in townships in the rear of those settled by the
loyalists, or in unoccupied areas lying on the lake-fronts between the
four districts referred to as having been taken up by the loyalists.
Then began the settlements along the north shore of Lake Ontario and of
Lake Erie, and the population moved forward steadily. In 1816 the total
population of the province was approximately 100,000; by 1826, according
to returns made to the government, it had increased to 166,000; in 1836
it was 374,000, and in 1841 it was 456,000. The great majority of these
people, of course, lived upon the land, the towns being comparatively
small, and the villages were composed largely of people engaged in
agricultural work.

This peaceful British invasion contributed a new element to the
province and added still further to the variety of the people. In one
township could be found a group of English settlers, most of whom came
from a southern county of England, near by a township peopled by
Scottish Lowlanders, and not far away a colony of north of Ireland
farmers, or perhaps a settlement composed entirely of people from the
vicinity of Cork or Limerick.

These British settlers brought new lines of life, new plans for houses
and barns, new methods of cultivation, new varieties of seed, and, what
was perhaps of most influence upon the agricultural life of the
province, new kinds of live stock. Even to this day can be seen traces
of the differences in construction of buildings introduced by the
different nationalities that came as pioneers into the various sections
of the province--the French Canadian constructed his buildings with
long, steep roofs; the Englishman followed his home plan of many small,
low outbuildings with doors somewhat rounded at the top; the German and
Dutch settler built big barns with their capacious mows. These latter
have become the type now generally followed, the main improvement in
later years being the raising of the frames upon stone foundations so as
to provide accommodation for live stock in the basement. It would be
interesting and profitable to study carefully the different localities
to determine what elements have contributed to the peculiar agricultural
characteristics of the present day. In this connection the language also
might be investigated. For instance, to the early Dutch farmers of Upper
Canada we owe such common words as 'stoop,' 'bush,' 'boss,' 'span.' To
the early British settler these were foreign words. When the oversea
settlers came up the St Lawrence they were transported from Montreal
either by 'bateau' or by 'Durham boat.'[2]

Special reference must be made to the live stock introduced by the
British settlers. This was one of the most important elements in the
expansion and permanent development of the agriculture of the province.
The British Isles have long been noted for their pure-bred stock. In no
other part of the world have so many varieties been originated and
improved. In horses, there are the Clydesdale, the Shire, the
Thoroughbred, and the Hackney; in cattle, Shorthorns, Herefords,
Ayrshires, Devon, and the dairy breeds of Jersey and Guernsey; in sheep,
Southdowns, Shropshires, Leicesters; in swine, Berkshires and
Yorkshires. Many other breeds might be added to these. Poultry and dogs
also might be referred to. The Britisher has been noted for his love of
live stock. He has been trained to their care, his agricultural methods
have been ordered to provide food suitable for their wants, and he has
been careful to observe the lines of breeding so as to improve their
quality. In the earliest period of the settlement of the province live
stock was not numerous and the quality was not of the best. Whatever was
to be found on the farms came mainly from the United States and was of
inferior type. The means of bringing in horses, cattle, and sheep were
limited. The result was that field work at that time was largely done by
hand labour. Hunting and fishing helped to supply the table with the
food that to-day we obtain from the butcher. When the Britisher came
across the Atlantic he brought to Upper Canada his love for live stock
and his knowledge how to breed and care for the same. The result was
seen in the rapid increase in the number of horses, cattle, sheep, and
swine, and the placing of the agriculture of the province on a firm
basis for future growth.

By 1830 the population had grown to about 213,000, practically all
located on the land. In that year there were only five towns of 1000 or
over: namely, Kingston, 3587; York (Toronto), 2860; London, (including
the township), 2415; Hamilton (including the township), 2013; and
Brockville, 1130. The returns to the government show that of the
4,018,385 acres occupied 773,727 were under cultivation. On the farms
were to be found 30,776 horses, 33,517 oxen, 80,892 milch cows, and
32,537 young cattle. It is interesting to note that oxen, so useful in
clearing land and in doing heavy work, were more numerous than horses.
Oxen were hardier than horses; they could forage for themselves and live
on rough food, and when disabled could be converted into food. They thus
played a very important part in the pioneer life. There were no improved
farm implements in those days: the plough, the spade, the hoe, the fork,
the sickle, the hook, the cradle, and the rake--implements that had been
the husbandman's equipment for centuries--completed the list. With these
the farmer cultivated his lands and gathered his crops. With two stout
hickory poles, joined together at the end with tough leather thongs, a
flail was made with which he threshed out his grain on the floor of his

The earliest pioneers raised some flax, and from the fibre made coarse
linen fabrics, supplementing these by skins of wild animals and the
hides of cattle. With the introduction of sheep by the British settlers
wool became an important product, and homespun garments provided
additional clothing for all the members of the family. Seeds of various
fruit trees were planted, and by 1830 the products of these seedlings
supplemented the wild plums and cherries of the woods and the wild
raspberries that sprang up in abundance in the clearings and slashes. By
this time every farm had one or more milch cows and the farmer's table
was supplied with fresh milk, butter, and home-made cheese. As the first
half-century of the province was drawing to its close, some of the
comforts of home life began to be realized by the farming community. The
isolation of the former period disappeared as roads of communication
were opened up and extended.

Here and there societies were formed for the exhibition of the products
of the farm and for friendly competitions. So important were these
societies becoming in the life of the whole community that in 1830 the
government gave them recognition and provided an annual grant to assist
them in their work. This is an important event in agricultural history,
for it marks the beginning of government assistance to the agricultural
industry. Between 1820 and 1830 probably not more than half a dozen
agricultural societies were organized. Some records of such were
preserved at York, Kingston, and in the Newcastle district. From the
record of the County of Northumberland Agricultural Society it is
learned that its first show was held in the public square of the village
of Colborne on October 19, 1828, when premiums were awarded amounting in
all to seventy-seven dollars. There were fourteen prizes for live stock,
two prizes for cheese, two for field rollers, and two for essays on the
culture of wheat. The first prize essay, for which the winner received
five dollars, was printed for distribution. The prize list was limited
in range, but it shows how this new settlement, formed largely by
British settlers since 1816, was giving particular attention to the
encouragement of live stock. A short quotation from the prize essay as
to the best method of clearing the land for wheat should be found of

      As a great part of our County is yet in a wilderness state
      and quite a share of the wheat brought to our markets is
      reared on new land, I deem it important that our
      enterprising young men who are clearing away the forest
      should know how to profit by their hard labor. Let the
      underwood be cut in the autumn before the leaves fall, and
      the large timber in the winter or early in the spring. This
      will insure a good burn, which is the first thing requisite
      for a good crop. Do your logging in the month of June, and
      if you wish to make money, do it before you burn your brush
      and save the ashes; these will more than half pay you for
      clearing the land: and by burning at this season you will
      attract a drove of cattle about you that will destroy all
      sprouts which may be growing; do not leave more than four
      trees on an acre and girdle these in the full moon of March
      and they will never leaf again; thus you may have your land
      prepared for the seed before harvest.

The act of 1830 provided a grant of £100 for a society in each district,
upon condition that the members subscribed and paid in at least £50, and
in the case of a society being organized in each county the amount was
to be equally divided among the societies. The condition of making the
grant was set forth in the act as follows: 'When any Agricultural
Society, for the purpose of importing valuable live stock, grain, grass
seeds, useful implements or whatever else might conduce to the
improvement of agriculture in this Province,' etc.

As a result of this substantial assistance by the government,
agricultural societies increased in number, and their influence, in
assisting in the improvement of the live stock and the bringing of new
implements to the attention of farmers, was most marked.

Horses, sheep and milch cows increased rapidly. Purebred cattle now
began to receive some attention. The first record of importation is the
bringing of a Shorthorn bull and a cow from New York State in 1831 by
Robert Arnold of St Catharines. In 1833 Rowland Wingfield, an Englishman
farming near Guelph, brought a small herd of choice animals across the
ocean, landed them at Montreal, took them to Hamilton by way of the
Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal, and Lake Ontario, and then drove them on
foot to Wellington County. The Hon. Adam Fergusson of Woodhill followed
two or three years later with a similar importation.

The first Ayrshire cattle can be traced back to the Scottish settlers
who arrived during this period. These emigrants had provided their own
food for the voyage to Canada, and in some cases brought a good milch
cow to provide fresh milk on the voyage. She would be disposed of on
landing, at Montreal or in the eastern part of Upper Canada. This
accounts for the early predominance of Ayrshires in Eastern Ontario.
Thus to the period 1830-45 belongs the first foundation of the pure-bred
stock industry.

It was in this period also that the first signs appear of improved farm
implements and labour-saving machinery. Ploughs of improved pattern,
lighter and more effective, were being made. Land rollers and harrows
made in the factory began to take the place of the home-made articles.
Crude threshing machines, clover-seed cleaners, root-cutters, and a
simple but heavy form of hay-rake came into use. The mowing machine and
the reaper were making their appearance in Great Britain and the United
States, but they had not yet reached Upper Canada.

The organization of agricultural societies in the various districts,
and the great impetus given to the keeping of good stock, led in 1843 to
the suggestion that a provincial organization would be of benefit to the
farming industry. In the neighbouring State of New York a similar
organization had been in existence since 1832 and successful State fairs
had been held, which some of the more prominent farmers of Upper Canada
had visited. An agricultural paper called the _British American
Cultivator_ had been established in York, and through this paper, in
letters and editorials, the idea of a provincial association was
advocated. For three years the discussion proceeded, until finally, in
1846, there was organized the Provincial Agricultural Association and
Board of Agriculture for Canada West, composed of delegates from the
various district societies. The result was that the first provincial
exhibition was held in Toronto on October 21 and 22 of that year. The
old Government House at the south-western corner of King Street and
Simcoe Street, then empty, was used for the exhibits, and the stock and
implements were displayed in the adjoining grounds. The Canada Company
gave a contribution of $200, eight local societies made donations, about
$280 was secured as gate money, and 297 members paid subscriptions.
Premiums were paid to the amount of $880, the bulk of which went to live
stock; books, which cost about $270, were given as prizes; and there was
left a cash balance on hand of $400. A ploughing match was held, and on
the evening of the first day a grand banquet was given, attended by the
officers and directors and by some of the leading citizens of Toronto.
Among the speakers at this banquet were Chief Justice Robinson and
Egerton Ryerson, superintendent of education.


[2] See 'Shipping and Canals' in section v. pp. 489-90.


The organization of this provincial association fittingly introduces
another era in agricultural growth. It is to be noted that this
provincial organization was a self-created body; it drew at first no
government funds direct. It commended itself to the people, for on July
28, 1847, the provincial parliament in session at Montreal passed an act
incorporating it under the name of the Agricultural Association of Upper
Canada, and in the charter named as members a number of the leading
citizens of the province. It was governed by a board of directors, two
of whom were chosen annually by each district agricultural society. The
objects set forth were the improvement of farm stock and produce, the
improvement of agricultural implements, and the encouragement of
domestic manufactures, of useful inventions applicable to agricultural
or domestic purposes, and of every branch of rural and domestic economy.
Out of this provincial association came all the further agricultural
organizations of a provincial nature, and ultimately, some forty years
later, the Ontario department of Agriculture.

The second provincial exhibition was held at Hamilton in 1847, and Lord
Elgin, the governor-general, was in attendance. He was also a generous
patron, for his name appears as a donor of $100. The address which he
delivered at the banquet has been preserved in the published records and
is copiously marked with cheers and loud applause.

The third exhibition was held at Cobourg in 1848. The official report of
the exhibits indicates that pure-bred stock was rapidly increasing and
improving in quality; but the most significant paragraph is that dealing
with implements, and this is well worth quoting in full.

      Of implements of Canada make, the Show was deficient; and
      we were much indebted to our American neighbours for their
      valuable aid on this occasion. A large number of ploughs,
      straw-cutters, drills, cornshellers, churns, etc., etc.,
      were brought over by Messrs Briggs & Co. of Rochester, Mr
      Emery of Albany, and a large manufacturing firm near
      Boston. Mr Bell of Toronto exhibited his excellent plough,
      straw-cutter, and reaping machine. The first prize for the
      latter article was awarded to Mr Helm of Cobourg for the
      recent improvements which he has effected. Mr Clark of
      Paris exhibited his one-horse thrashing-mill, which
      attracted much attention.

At the fourth exhibition, held at Kingston in 1849, the show of
implements was much more extensive, and comment was made on the
improvement of articles of home manufacture. At this meeting Professor
J. F. W. Johnson, of Edinburgh, who was making a tour of North America,
was present. The address of the president, Henry Ruttan of Cobourg, is a
most valuable reference article descriptive of the agricultural progress
of the province from the first settlements in 1783 to the time of the
exhibition. Ruttan was a loyalist's son, and, from his own personal
knowledge, he described the old plough that was given by the government
to each of the first settlers.

      It consisted of a small iron socket, whose point entered by
      means of a dove-tailed aperture into the heel of the
      coulter, which formed the principal part of the plough, and
      was in shape similar to the letter L, the shank of which
      went through the wooden beam, and the foot formed the point
      which was sharpened for operation. One handle and a plank
      split from the side of a winding block of timber, which did
      duty for the mould-board, completed the implement. Besides
      provisions for a year, I think each family had issued to
      them a plough-share and coulter, a set of dragg-teeth, a
      log chain, an axe, a saw, a hammer, a bill hook and a
      grubbing hoe, a pair of hand-irons and a cross-cut saw
      amongst several families, and a few other articles.

He then refers to the large number of implements then being pressed upon
the farmers, until 'they have almost become a nuisance to the farmer who
desires to purchase a really useful article.' All of which indicates
that a distinctive feature of the period beginning with 1846 was the
introduction and rapid extension of improved farm machinery.

A few words as to the reaping machine, which contributed more than any
other modern implement to the development of agriculture in the past
century, may not be out of place. Various attempts had been made at
producing a machine to supersede the sickle, the scythe, and the cradle
before the Rev. Patrick Bell, in 1826, presented his machine to the
Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland for its examination. Bell's
machine was fairly successful, and one was then in operation on the farm
of his brother, Inch-Michael, in the Carse of Gowrie. One set of knives
was fixed, another set worked above and across these like the blades of
a pair of scissors. The grain fell on an endless cloth which carried and
deposited the heads at the side of the machine. A horse pushed it
forward and kept all parts in motion. It was simple, and, we are told,
harvested twelve acres in a day. This was in 1826. In the _New York
Farmer and American Gardener's Magazine_ for 1834 may be found the
descriptions and illustrations of Obed Hussey's grain-cutter and Cyrus
H. McCormick's 'improved reaping-machine.' The question has been raised
as to whether either of these United States inventions owed anything to
the earlier production of Patrick Bell. It was, of course, the improved
United States reaping machines that found their way into Upper Canada
shortly after the organization of the Provincial Agricultural
Association. Our interest in this matter is quickened by the fact that
the Rev. Patrick Bell, when a young man, was for some time a tutor in
the family of a well-to-do farmer in the county of Wellington, and there
is a tradition that while there he carried on some experiments in the
origination of his machine. The suggestion of a 'mysterious visitor'
from the United States to the place where he was experimenting is
probably mere conjecture.

This period, 1846 to 1867, was one of rapid growth in population. The
free-grant land policy of the government was a great attraction for tens
of thousands of people in the British Isles, who were impelled by social
unrest, failure of crops, and general stagnation in the manufacturing
industries to seek new homes across the sea. In the twenty years
referred to the population more than doubled, and the improved lands of
the province increased fourfold. The numbers of cattle and sheep about
doubled, and the wheat production increased about threefold.

Towards the latter part of the period a new agricultural industry came
into existence--the manufacture of cheese in factories. It was in New
York State that the idea of co-operation in the manufacture of cheese
was first attempted. There, as in Canada West, it had been the practice
to make at home from time to time a quantity of soft cheese, which, of
course, would be of variable quality. To save labour, a proposition was
made to collect the milk from several farms and have the cheese made at
one central farm. The success of this method soon became known and small
factories were established. In 1863 Harvey Farrington came from New York
State to Canada West and established a factory in the county of Oxford,
about the same time that a similar factory was established in the county
of Missisquoi, Quebec. Shortly afterwards factories were built in
Hastings County, and near Brockville, in Leeds County. Thus began an
industry that had a slow advance for some fifteen years, but from 1880
spread rapidly, until the manufacture of cheese in factories became one
of the leading provincial industries. The system followed is a slight
modification of the Cheddar system, which takes its name from one of the
most beautiful vales in the west of England. Its rapid progress has been
due to the following circumstances: Ontario, with her rich grasses,
clear skies, and clean springs and streams, is well adapted to dairying;
large numbers of her farmers came from dairy districts in the mother
country; the co-operative method of manufacture tends to produce a
marketable article that can be shipped and that improves with proper
storage; Great Britain has proved a fine market for such an article; and
the industry has for over thirty years received the special help and
careful supervision and direction of the provincial and Dominion

During this period we note the voluntary organization of the Ontario
Fruit-Growers' Association, a fact which alone would suggest that the
production of fruit must have been making progress. The early French
settlers along the Detroit River had planted pear trees or grown them
from seed, and a few of these sturdy, stalwart trees, over a century
old, still stand and bear some fruit. Mrs Simcoe, in her _Journal_, July
2, 1793, states: 'We have thirty large May Duke cherry trees behind the
house and three standard peach trees which supplied us last Autumn for
tarts and desserts during six weeks, besides the numbers the young men
eat.' This was at Niagara. The records of the agricultural exhibitions
indicate that there was a gradual extension of fruit-growing.
Importations of new varieties were made, Rochester, in New York State,
apparently being the chief place from which nursery stock was obtained.
Here and there through the province gentlemen having some leisure and
the skill to experiment were beginning to take an interest in their
gardens and to produce new varieties. On January 19, 1859, a few persons
met in the board-room of the Mechanics' Hall at Hamilton and organized a
fruit-growers' association for Upper Canada. Judge Campbell was elected
president; Dr Hurlbert, first vice-president; George Leslie, second
vice-president; Arthur Harvey, secretary. The members of this
association introduced new varieties and reported on their success. They
were particularly active in producing such new varieties as were
peculiarly suitable to the climate. For nine years they maintained their
organization and carried on their work unaided and unrecognized

To this period belongs also the first attempts at special instruction in
agriculture and the beginning of an agricultural press. Both are
intimately connected with the association, already referred to, that had
been organized in 1846 by some of the most progressive citizens.

For four years the Provincial Association carried on its work and
established itself as a part of the agricultural life of Canada West. In
1850 the government stepped in and established a board of agriculture as
the executive of the association. Its objects were set out by statute
and funds were to be provided for its maintenance. The new lines of work
allotted to it were to collect agricultural statistics, prepare crop
reports, gather information of general value and to present the same to
the legislature for publication, and to co-operate with the provincial
university in the teaching of agriculture and the carrying on of an
experimental or illustrative farm. Professor George Buckland was
appointed to the chair of agriculture in the university in January 1851
and an experimental farm on a small scale was laid out on the university
grounds. Professor Buckland acted also as secretary to the board until
1858, when he resigned and was succeeded by Hugh C. Thomson. He
continued his work for some years at the university, and was an active
participant in all agricultural matters up to the time of his death in

Provision having been made for agricultural instruction at the
university, the board in 1859 decided to establish a course in
veterinary science, and at once got into communication with Professor
Dick of the Veterinary College at Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1862 a school
was opened in Toronto under the direction of Professor Andrew Smith,
recently arrived from Edinburgh.

The _British American Cultivator_ was established in 1841 by Eastwood
and Co. and W. G. Edmundson, with the latter as editor. It gave place in
1849 to the _Canadian Agriculturist_, a monthly journal edited and owned
by George Buckland and William McDougall. This was the official organ of
the board till the year 1864, when George Brown began the publication of
the _Canada Farmer_ with the Rev. W. F. Clark as editor-in-chief and D.
W. Beadle as horticultural editor. The board at once recognized it,
accepted it as their representative, and the _Canadian Agriculturist_
ceased publication in December 1863.

The half-century of British immigration, 1816 to 1867, had wrought a
wonderful change. From a little over a hundred thousand the population
had grown to a million and a half; towns and cities had sprung into
existence; commercial enterprises had taken shape; the construction of
railways had been undertaken; trade had developed along new lines; the
standards of living had materially changed; and great questions,
national and international, had stirred the people and aroused at times
the bitterest political strife. The changed standards of living can best
be illustrated by an extract from an address delivered in 1849 by
Sheriff Ruttan. Referring to the earlier period, he said:

      Our food was coarse but wholesome. With the exception of
      three or four pounds of green tea a year for a family,
      which cost us three bushels of wheat per pound, we raised
      everything we ate. We manufactured our own clothes and
      purchased nothing except now and then a black silk
      handkerchief or some trifling article of foreign
      manufacture of the kind. We lived simply, yet
      comfortably--envied no one, for no one was better off than
      his neighbour. Until within the last thirty years, one
      hundred bushels of wheat, at 2s. 6d. per bushel, was quite
      sufficient to give in exchange for all the articles of
      foreign manufacture consumed by a large family.... The
      old-fashioned home-made cloth has given way to the fine
      broadcloth coat; the linsey-woolsey dresses of females have
      disappeared and English and French silks been substituted;
      the nice clean-scoured floors of the farmers' houses have
      been covered by Brussels carpets; the spinning wheel and
      loom have been superseded by the piano; and in short, a
      complete revolution in all our domestic habits and manners
      has taken place--the consequences of which are the
      accumulation of an enormous debt upon our shoulders and its
      natural concomitant, political strife.

Students of Canadian history will at once recall the story of the
Rebellion of 1837, the struggle for constitutional government, the
investigation by Lord Durham, the repeal of the preferential wheat
duties in England, the agitation for Canadian independence, and other
great questions that so seriously disturbed the peace of the Canadian
people. They were the 'growing pains' of a progressive people. The
Crimean War, in 1854-56, gave an important though temporary boom to
Canadian farm products. Reciprocity with the United States from 1855 to
1866 offered a profitable market that had been closed for many years.
Then came the close of the great civil war in the United States and the
opening up of the cheap, fertile prairie lands of the Middle West to the
hundreds of thousands of farmers set free from military service. This
westward movement was joined by many farmers from Ontario; there was a
disastrous competition in products, and an era of agricultural
depression set in just before Confederation. It was because of these
difficulties that Confederation became a possibility and a necessity.
The new political era introduced a new agricultural period, which began
under conditions that were perhaps as unfavourable and as unpromising as
had been experienced for over half a century.


The period that we shall now deal with begins with Confederation in
1867 and extends to 1888, when a provincial minister of Agriculture was
appointed for the first time and an independent department organized.

From 1792 to 1841 what is now Ontario was known as Upper Canada; from
1841 to 1867 it was part of the United Province of Canada, being known
as Canada West to distinguish it from Quebec or Canada East. In 1867,
however, it resumed its former status as a separate province, but with
the new name of Ontario. In the formation of the government of the
province agriculture was placed under the care of a commissioner, who,
however, held another portfolio in the cabinet. John Carling was
appointed commissioner of Public Works and also commissioner of
Agriculture. On taking office Carling found the following agricultural
organizations of the province ready to co-operate with the government:
sixty-three district agricultural societies, each having one or more
branch township societies under its care, and all receiving annual
government grants of slightly over $50,000; a provincial board of
agriculture, with its educational and exhibition work; and a
fruit-growers' association, now for the first time taken under
government direction and given financial assistance.

One extract from the commissioner's first report will serve to show the
condition of agriculture in Ontario when the Dominion was born. 'It is
an encouraging fact that during the last year in particular mowers and
reapers and labour-saving implements have not only increased in the
older districts, but have found their way into new ones, and into places
where they were before practically unknown. This beneficial result has,
no doubt, mainly arisen from the difficulty, or rather in some cases
impossibility, of getting labour at any price.' It would appear,
therefore, that the question of shortage of farm labour, so much
complained of in recent years, has been a live one for forty years and

In the second report of the commissioner (1869) special attention was
directed to the question of agricultural education, and the suggestion
was made that the agricultural department of the university and the
veterinary college might give some instruction to the teachers at the
normal school. In the following year, however, an advanced step was
taken. It was noted that Dr Ryerson was in sympathy with special
agricultural teaching and had himself prepared and published a text-book
on agriculture. The suggestion was made that the time had arrived for a
school of practical science. At the same time Ryerson had appointed the
Rev. W. F. Clark, the editor of the _Canada Farmer_, to visit the
Agricultural department at Washington and a few of the agricultural
colleges of the United States, and to collect such practical information
as would aid in commencing something of an analogous character in
Ontario. It will thus be seen that the two branches of technical
training--the School of Practical Science and the Agricultural
College--were really twin institutions, originating, in the year 1870,
in the dual department of Public Works and Agriculture. These
institutions were the outcome of the correlation of city and country
industries, which were under the fostering care of the Agriculture and
Arts Association, as the old provincial organization was now known. The
School of Practical Science, it may be noted, is now incorporated with
the provincial university, and the Agricultural College is affiliated
with it.

There were at that time two outstanding agricultural colleges in the
United States, that of Massachusetts and that of Michigan. These were
visited, and, based upon the work done at these institutions, a
comprehensive and suggestive report was compiled. Immediate action was
taken upon the recommendations of this report, and a tract of land, six
hundred acres in extent, was purchased at Mimico, seven miles west of
Toronto. Before work could be commenced, however, the life of the
legislature closed and a new government came into office in 1871 with
Archibald McKellar as commissioner of Agriculture and Arts. New
governments feel called upon to promote new measures. There were rumours
and suggestions that the soil of the Mimico farm was productive of
thistles and better adapted to brick-making than to the raising of
crops. Also the location was so close to Toronto that it was feared that
the attractions of the city would tend to make the students discontented
with country life. For various reasons a change of location was deemed
desirable, and a committee of farmer members of the legislature was
appointed. Professor Miles, of the Michigan Agricultural College, was
engaged to give expert advice; other locations were examined, and
finally Moreton Lodge Farm, near Guelph, was purchased. After some
preliminary difficulties, involving the assistance of a sheriff or
bailiff, possession was obtained, and the first class for instruction in
agricultural science and practice, consisting of thirty-one pupils in
all, was opened on June 1, 1874, with William Johnston as rector or
principal. Thus was established the Ontario School of Agriculture, now
known as the Ontario Agricultural College. Its annual enrolment has
grown to over fifteen hundred, and it is now recognized as the
best-equipped and most successful institution of its kind in the British
Empire. Its development along practical lines and its recognition as a
potent factor in provincial growth were largely due to Dr James Mills,
who was appointed president of the college in 1879, and filled that
position until January 1904, when he was appointed to the Dominion Board
of Railway Commissioners. Under his direction farmers' institutes were
established in Ontario in 1884. Dr Mills was succeeded by Dr G. C.
Creelman as president.

The next important step in agricultural advancement was the appointment
in 1880 of the Ontario Agricultural Commission 'to inquire into the
agricultural resources of the Province of Ontario, the progress and
condition of agriculture therein and matters connected therewith.' The
commission consisted of S. C. Wood, then commissioner of Agriculture
(chairman), Alfred H. Dymond (secretary), and sixteen other persons
representative of the various agricultural interests, including the
president and ex-president of the Agricultural and Arts Association,
Professor William Brown of the Agricultural College, the master of the
Dominion Grange, the president of the Entomological Society, and two
members of the legislature, Thomas Ballantyne and John Dryden. In 1913
there were but two survivors of this important commission, J. B.
Aylesworth of Newburgh, Ont., and Dr William Saunders, who, after over
twenty years' service as director of the Dominion Experimental Farms,
had resigned office in 1911.

All parts of the province were visited and information was gathered
from the leading farmers along the lines laid down in the royal
commission. In 1881 the report was issued in five volumes. It was
without doubt the most valuable commission report ever issued in
Ontario, if not in all Canada. Part of it was reissued a second and a
third time, and for years it formed the Ontario farmer's library. Even
to this day it is a valuable work of reference, containing as it does a
vast amount of practical information and forming an invaluable source of
agricultural history.

The first outcome of this report was the establishment, in 1882, by the
government of the Ontario bureau of Industries, an organization for the
collection and publication of statistics in connection with agriculture
and allied industries. Archibald Blue, who now occupies the position of
chief officer of the census and statistics branch of the Dominion
service, was appointed the first secretary of the bureau.

Agriculture continued to expand, and associations for the protection and
encouragement of special lines increased in number and in importance.
Thus there were no fewer than three vigorous associations interested in
dairying: the Dairymen's Association of Eastern Ontario, and the
Dairymen's Association of Western Ontario, which were particularly
interested in the cheese industry, and the Ontario Creameries
Association, which was interested in butter manufacture. There were
poultry associations, a beekeepers' association, and several live stock
associations. From time to time the suggestion was made that the work of
these associations, and that of the Agriculture and Arts Association and
of the bureau of Industries, should be co-ordinated, and a strong
department of Agriculture organized under a minister of Agriculture
holding a distinct portfolio in the Ontario cabinet. Provision for this
was made by the legislature in 1888, and in that year Charles Drury was
appointed the first minister of Agriculture. The bureau of Industries
was taken as the nucleus of the department, and Archibald Blue, the
secretary, was appointed deputy minister.

We have referred to the reaction that took place in Ontario agriculture
after the close of the American Civil War and the abrogation of the
reciprocity treaty. The high prices of the Crimean War period had long
since disappeared, the market to the south had been narrowed, and the
Western States were pouring into the East the cheap grain products of a
rich virgin soil. Agricultural depression hung over the province for
years. Gradually, however, through the early eighties the farmers began
to recover their former prosperous condition, sending increasing
shipments of barley, sheep, horses, eggs, and other commodities to the
cities of the Eastern States, so that at the close of the period to
which we are referring agricultural conditions were of a favourable and
prosperous nature.


In 1888 a new period in Ontario's agricultural history begins. The
working forces of agriculture were being linked together in the new
department of Agriculture. Charles Drury, the first minister of
Agriculture, held office until 1890, being succeeded by John Dryden, who
continued in charge of the department until 1905, when a conservative
government took the place of the liberal government that had been in
power since 1871.

Two factors immediately began to play a most important part in the
agricultural situation: the opening up of the north-western lands by the
completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886, and the enactment,
on October 6, 1890, of the McKinley high tariff by the United States.
The former attracted Ontario's surplus population, and made it no longer
profitable or desirable to grow wheat in the province for export; the
latter closed the doors to the export of barley, live stock, butter, and
eggs. The situation was desperate; agriculture was passing through a
period of most trying experience. Any other industry than that of
agriculture would have been bankrupted. The only hope of the Ontario
farmer now was in the British market. The sales of one Ontario product,
factory cheese, had been steadily increasing in the great consuming
districts of England and Scotland, and there was reason to believe that
other products might be sold to equal advantage. Dairying was the one
line of agricultural work that helped to tide over the situation in the
early nineties. The methods that had succeeded in building up the cheese
industry must be applied to other lines, and all the organized forces
must be co-ordinated in carrying this out. This was work for a
department of Agriculture, and the minister of Agriculture, John Dryden,
who guided and directed this co-operation of forces and made plans for
the future growth and expansion of agricultural work, was an imperialist
indeed who, in days of depression and difficulty, directed forces and
devised plans that not only helped the agricultural classes to recover
their prosperity, but also made for the strengthening of imperial ties
and the working out of national greatness.

The British market presented new conditions, new demands. The
North-West could send her raw products in the shape of wheat; Ontario
must send finished products--beef, bacon, cheese, butter, fruit, eggs,
and poultry--these and similar products could be marketed in large
quantities if only they could be supplied of right quality.
Transportation of the right kind was a prime necessity. Lumber, wheat,
and other rough products could be handled without difficulty, but
perishable goods demanded special accommodation. This was a matter
belonging to the government of Canada, and to it the Dominion department
of Agriculture at once began to give attention. The production of the
goods for shipment was a matter for provincial direction. Gradually the
farmers of the province adapted themselves to the new conditions and
after a time recovered their lost ground. General prosperity came in
sight again about 1895. For several years after this the output of beef,
bacon, and cheese increased steadily, and the gains made in the British
market more than offset the loss of the United States market. It was
during the five years after 1890 that the farmers suffered so severely
while adjusting their work to the new conditions. With these expanding
lines of British trade products, the values of stock, implements, and
buildings made steady advance, and in 1901 the total value of all farm
property in the province crossed the billion dollar mark. Since that
year the annual increase in total farm values has been approximately
forty million dollars. The following statement of total farm values in
Ontario, as compiled by the Ontario bureau of Industries, the
statistical branch of the department of Agriculture, is very suggestive:

_Total Farm Values_

  1885     $958,159,740
  1886      989,497,911
  1887      975,292,214
  1888      981,368,094
  1889      982,210,664
  1890      970,927,035
  1891      971,886,068
  1892      979,977,244
  1893      970,361,070
  1894      954,395,507
  1895      931,989,574
  1896      910,291,623
  1897      905,093,613
  1898      923,022,420
  1899      947,513,360
  1900      974,814,931
  1901    1,001,323,296
  1902    1,044,894,332
  1906    1,189,119,120
  1909    1,241,019,109

From the above table it will be seen that the closing of the United
States markets in 1890 was followed by a depreciation in general farm
values which lasted until 1898, when the upward movement that has
continued ever since set in.

And now let us see how the population was changing, as to its
distribution between rural and urban, during these years. First, we
shall give the assessed population.

                    Rural               Urban
  1884            1,117,880            636,187
  1885            1,126,554            658,406
  1890            1,117,533            800,041
  1895            1,109,013            848,377
  1900            1,094,246            919,614
  1905            1,059,379          1,042,881
  1909            1,049,240          1,240,198

The Canadian Pacific Railway opened up the wheat lands of the West in
1886. At that time the rural population was nearly double the urban; in
1905 they were about equal; and six years later the urban population of
Ontario exceeded the rural.

The Dominion census figures are as follows:

                    Rural              Urban
  1911            1,194,785          1,328,489
  1901            1,246,969            935,978
                  ---------          ---------
    Increase          ....             392,511
    Decrease         52,184              ....

It will thus be seen that during the past twenty-five years there has
been a steady increase in the consumers of food products in Ontario and
a slight decrease in the producers of the same. The surplus population
of the farms has gone to the towns and cities of Ontario and to the
western provinces. Now for a moment let us follow these people to the
West. Many of them have gone on the land to produce wheat. Wheat for the
European market has been their principal product, therefore they in turn
have become consumers of large quantities of food that they do not
themselves produce but must obtain from farmers elsewhere. But not all
who have gone West have become farmers. The Dominion census of 1911
gives the following statement of population for the provinces and
districts west of Lake Superior:

                    Rural               Urban
  1911            1,059,681            681,216
  1901              446,050            199,467
                  ---------            -------
    Increase        613,631            481,749

The western provinces are generally considered to be almost purely
agricultural, and yet the percentage increase of urban population has
been nearly double the percentage increase of rural population. And this
rapidly growing urban population also has demanded food products. Their
own farmers grow wheat and oats and barley. British Columbia produces
fruit for her own people and some surplus for the prairie provinces.
There is some stock-raising, but the rapid extension of wheat areas has
interfered with the great stock ranches. From out of the Great West,
therefore, there has come an increasing demand for many food products.
Add to this the growing home market in Ontario, and, keeping in mind
that the West can grow wheat more cheaply than Ontario, it will be
understood why of recent years the Ontario farmer has been compelled to
give up the production of wheat for export. His line of successful and
profitable work has been in producing to supply the demands of his own
growing home market, and the demands of the rapidly increasing people of
the West, both rural and urban, and also to share in the insatiable
market of Great Britain. Another element of more recent origin has been
the small but very profitable market of Northern Ontario, where
lumbering, mining, and railroad construction have been so active in the
past five or six years.

The result of all this has been a great increase in fruit production.
Old orchards have been revived and new orchards have been set out. The
extension of the canning industry also is most noticeable, and has
occasioned the production of fruits and vegetables in enormous
quantities. Special crops such as tobacco, beans, and sugar beets are
being grown in counties where soil and climatic conditions are
favourable. The production of poultry and eggs is also receiving more
attention each succeeding year. The growth of cities is creating an
increasing demand for milk, and the production of factory-made butter
and cheese is also increasing, as the following figures for Ontario from
the Dominion census prove:

                     Butter               Cheese
  1900            7,559,542 lb.      131,967,612 lb.
  1910           13,699,153  "       157,631,883  "

For the past ten or twelve years the farmers of Ontario have been
slowly adjusting their work to the new situation, and the transition is
continuing. While in some sections farms are being enlarged so as to
permit the more extensive use of labour-saving machinery and the more
economical handling of live stock, in other sections, particularly in
counties adjacent to the Great Lakes, large farms are being cut up into
smaller holdings and intensive production of fruits and vegetables is
now the practice. This, of course, results in a steady increase in land
values and is followed by an increase in rural population. The farmers
of Ontario are putting forth every effort to meet the demands for food
products. The one great difficulty that they have encountered has been
the scarcity of farm labour. Men have come from Europe by the tens of
thousands, but they have been drawn largely to the growing towns and
cities by the high wages offered in industrial lines; and the West, the
'Golden West' as it is sometimes called, has proved an even stronger
attraction. It seems rarely to occur to the new arrival that the average
farm in Ontario could produce more than a quarter section of prairie
land. Signs, however, point to an increase in rural population, through
the spread of intensive agriculture.

Before referring to the methods of instruction and assistance provided
for the developing of this new agriculture in Ontario, reference should
be made to one thing that is generally overlooked by those who
periodically discover this rapid urban increase, and who moralize most
gloomily upon a movement that is to be found in nearly every progressive
country of the civilized world. In the days of early settlement the
farmer and his family supplied nearly all their own wants. The farmer
produced all his own food; he killed his own stock, salted his pork, and
smoked his hams. His wife was expert in spinning and weaving, and
plaited the straw hats for the family. The journeyman shoemaker dropped
in and fitted out the family with boots. The great city industries were
then unknown. The farmer's wife in those days was perhaps the most
expert master of trades ever known. She could spin and weave, make a
carpet or a rug, dye yarns and clothes, and make a straw hat or a birch
broom. Butter, cheese, and maple sugar were products of her skill, as
well as bread, soap, canned fruits, and home-made wine. In those days
the farm was a miniature factory or combination of factories. Many, in
fact most, of these industries have gradually moved out of the farm home
and have been concentrated in great factories; and the pedlar with his
pack has disappeared under a shower of catalogues from the departmental
city store. In other words, a large portion of work once done upon the
farm and at the country cross-roads has been transferred to the town and
city, and this, in some part, explains the modern movement citywards--
there has been a transference from country to city not only of people
but also of industries. Whether this has been in the interests of the
people is another question, but the process is still going on, and what
further changes may take place it is difficult to determine and unwise
to forecast.

And now let us see what agencies and organizations have been used in the
development of the special lines of agriculture since the creation of
the department in 1888. We have stated that the Agriculture and Arts
Association had been for many years the directing force in provincial
agricultural organization. It held an annual provincial exhibition; it
issued the diplomas to the graduates of the Ontario Veterinary College;
and it controlled the various live stock associations that were
interested in the registration of stock. Shortly after 1888 legislation
was enacted transferring the work to the department of Agriculture. The
place for holding the provincial exhibition was changed from year to
year. In 1879 a charter was obtained by special act for the Toronto
Industrial Exhibition, the basis of which was the Toronto Electoral
Agricultural Society. Out of this came the annual Toronto Exhibition,
now known as the Canadian National Exhibition, and the governmental
exhibition was discontinued.

The Ontario Veterinary College was a privately owned institution,
though the diplomas were issued by the Agriculture and Arts Association.
The royal commission appointed in 1905 to investigate the University of
Toronto recommended the taking over of this association by the
government, and as a result it passed under the control of the
department of Agriculture in 1908, and was affiliated with the
University of Toronto. Since that time the diploma of Veterinary Surgeon
(V.S.) has been issued by the minister of Agriculture, and a
supplementary degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.) has
been granted by the university. The taking over of this institution by
the government, the resuming by the province of its original
prerogative, was accompanied by an enlargement of the course, an
extension from two years to three years in the period of instruction,
and a strengthening of the faculty. The herd-books or pedigree record
books were, in most cases, Canadian, and it was felt that they should be
located at the capital of the Dominion. These have therefore been
transferred to Ottawa and are now conducted under Dominion regulations.

The Ontario bureau of Industries was the basis of organization of the
department. As other work was added the department grew in size and
importance, and the various branches were instituted until there
developed a well-organized department having the following subdivisions:

  The Agricultural College,
  The Veterinary College,
  The Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Branch,
  The Live Stock Branch,
  The Farmers' and Women's Institutes Branch,
  The Dairy Branch,
  The Fruit Branch,
  The Statistical Branch,
  The Immigration and Colonization Branch.

Each branch is in charge of a special officer. In addition to the above
there is a lot of miscellaneous work, which as it develops will probably
be organized into separate branches, such as farm forestry, district
representatives, etc.

John Dryden was in 1905 succeeded as minister of Agriculture by Nelson
Monteith, who in 1908 was succeeded by J. S. Duff. Under their care the
department has grown and expanded, and through their recommendations,
year by year, increasing amounts of money have been obtained for the
extension of agricultural instruction and the more thorough working out
of plans inaugurated in the earlier years of departmental organization.

The history of agricultural work in Ontario in recent years may be put
under two heads--expansion of the various organizations and extension of
their operations, and the development of what may be called 'field
work.' Farmers' institutes and women's institutes have multiplied;
agricultural societies now cover the entire province; local horse
associations, poultry associations, and beekeepers' associations have
been encouraged; winter fairs for live stock have been established at
Guelph and Ottawa; dairy instructors have been increased in number and
efficiency; short courses in live stock, seed improvement, fruit work,
and dairying have been held; and farm drainage has received practical
encouragement. Perhaps the most important advance of late years has
resulted through the appointment of what are known as district
representatives. In co-operation with the department of Education,
graduates of the Agricultural College have been permanently located in
the various counties to study the agricultural conditions and to
initiate and direct any movement that would assist in developing the
agricultural work. These graduates organize short courses at various
centres, conduct classes in high schools, assist the farmers in
procuring the best seed, advise as to new lines of work, assist in
drainage, supervise the care of orchards--in short, they carry the work
of the Agricultural College and of the various branches of the
department right to the farmer, and give that impetus to better farming
which can come only from personal contact. The growth of the district
representative system has been remarkable: it was begun in seven
counties in 1907, by 1910 fifteen counties had representatives, and in
1914 no fewer than thirty-eight counties were so equipped. At first the
farmers distrusted and even somewhat opposed the movement, but the
district representative soon proved himself so helpful that the
government has found it difficult to comply with the numerous requests
for these apostles of scientific farming. Approximately $125,000 is
spent each year on the work by the provincial government, in addition to
the $500 granted annually by the county to each district office. The
result of all this is that new and more profitable lines of farming are
being undertaken, specializing in production is being encouraged, and
Ontario agriculture is advancing rapidly along the lines to which the
soils, the climate, and the people are adapted. A study of the history
of Ontario agriculture shows many changes in the past hundred years, but
at no time has there been so important and so interesting a development
as that which took place in the opening decade of the twentieth century.

                                               [Signature: C C James]

[Transcriber's Note:

The following correction was made:

p. 572: Newburg to Newburgh

Spelling in quoted passages has not been changed. Page numbering matches
the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of Farming in Ontario" ***

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