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Gwen Tuinman

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fall fair

Fall Fairs in Upper Canada: A Brief History

One of the pleasures of October is attending the fall fairs so prevalent across Ontario. After discovering archived images of fairs held in the early 1900s, I became curious about the origins of such events. These curated details will find their way into my writing one day.

Agricultural Societies appeared in Upper Canada as early as 1793 when the first one began at Niagara. In the eighteen-thirties and forties, the societies grew in popularity. Their membership activities provided an opportunity for socializing among farmers. The farmers’ wives, however, were disallowed from participating in the society. Women rarely broke the monotony of their daily routine except to visit a neighbour or a general store. To join in men’s activities was considered improper.

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Curating Wonder–Fall Fair

Photo 1: Lakelse Valley exhibit during Fall Fair [Prince Rupert, B.C.], 1915 (photo source: Jack R. Wrathall / Library and Archives Canada) / Photo 2: H.K. Dunyes’ Ayrshires at the fair, 1913 (photo source: William James Topley/Library and Archives Canada) / Photo 3: Opening of the agricultural Fair, Brantford, Ont., 1904 (photo source: Library and Archives Canada)

“I wonder …”

How would you finish this sentence?

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