Spring Planting: Excitement mounts at Upper Canada Village for IPM

Spring Planting: Excitement mounts at Upper Canada Village for IPM
Jim Brownell

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Digging a deeper connection between modern farming and rural history means getting your hands dirty.

As a demonstration of historical plowing techniques swept across the sun-soaked field facing Crysler Hall on Thursday (May 21), Upper Canada Village and St. Lawrence Parks Commission officials announced the Spring Planting weekend set for May 30-31.

The new event is a precursor to the 2015 International Plowing Match (IPM) & Rural Expo in Finch set for Sept. 22-26. It’s also the village’s way of celebrating the season as its fields and gardens come back to life after the long winter.

“Now we can play off each other to let tourists know there are wonderful events all-season happening locally, culminating into September’s big rural exhibition,” said IPM chair Jim Brownell.

With the help of reenactor-artisan Irvin Dupuis, he successfully navigated a plough and team of Upper Canada Village’s Canadian horses, Jenny and Lou.

“I fulfilled something off my bucket list,” laughed Brownell as he stood on the freshly harrowed field.

The Spring Planting weekend will feature 12 teams of horses (including Percherons, Clydesdales, Belgians and Canadians) and oxen ploughing, harrowing, disking, seeding and rolling the land, while village gardeners transplant young plants from the hot beds into the gardens.

Bruce Henbest, the village’s coordinator of interpretation, said experienced horticultural interpreters will be ready to answer seeding, transplanting and other gardening questions.

Darren Dalgleish, CEO of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, encourages everyone to drop by the village from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (May 30) and Sunday (May 31), especially since there is no extra cost to admission.

“The village is one of our key heritage sites, so anything we can do to add depth to the story of Canada’s early history, like the International Plowing Match, is an exciting opportunity to bring fresh ideas and tourism commerce into the area,” said Dalgleish.

Brownell believes the new weekend event is a perfect fit with the IPM theme: “Link to the Past, Look to the Future.”

For more information, visit plowingmatch.org.

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