St. Andrews - St. Clements Agricultural Society
In 1867 Canada was born under the British North America Act, including the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. By 1869 the Red River colony was the only settlement of importance east of the Rockies. By 1876 there were more than 200 people living and farming in the Red River community. As the number of settlers and farming grew in the area, agricultural businesses and farmers found that there was much more power and safety in numbers. A good crop yield, easy access to transportation and elevators for storage would benefit the community and the local farmers greatly. Therefore the farmers banded together to form the St. Andrews-St. Clements Agricultural Society in 1878 under Charter No. 2 to serve on behalf of the farmer to advocate and to lobby policies and activities which would assist the agricultural community.
In 1882 the home of the Agricultural Exhibition was incorporated as the Town of Selkirk. Nearly 10 years later the population numbers in Selkirk had risen to 1,836 with farm settler pouring in now farther north near Gimli. Since 1938 The St. Andrews-St. Clements Agricultural Society has been sponsoring the official Boy's and Girl's Club (which originated in Roland, Manitoba in 1913 and was recognized as the 4-H program in 1952). Even in the early 1900's the agricultural society's main goal was to educate the public about agriculture in order to economically improve the community's future. In 1939 meetings were held in the Legislative Building to discuss the recent plagues that had affected the country's crops. As well, plowing matches were held faithfully during this time in Selkirk by the Agricultural Society because they were viewed as educationally valuable to the community.
Some of the clubs that the Society has assisted over the years were the Garden Club, Percheron Horse Clubs, Girls Homemaking School, along with Farmer Days, Achievement Days and Picnics. The Dairy and Beef Calf Clubs were recognized in the Society's minutes extensively and one record shows that the opportunity for a $5 loan was given to members to buy a calf. They were allowed up to 3 years to pay it off to the Society in 1939!
The oldest fair books held at the Provincial Archives building in Winnipeg are from the years 1883, 1885, 1890, 1892, 1895, and 1898. Consistently at this time the Agricultural Fair was held in the Town of Selkirk at the St. Andrews Exhibition Hall the first weekend in October. In 1883 there were but two sponsors, one of which was the W.H. Eaton & Co. in Selkirk and a local grocer. Both these sponsors contributed to the $600 in prize monies given away at the Fair. The following years parallel the success in agriculture that the community was having. There was an increase in the amount of sponsorships and the prize monies at the fair also increased. The main categories of events at the fair were horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, Agricultural products (wheat, barley and vegetables), needlework and manufacturers (soap and harness making). By 1895 the pigs and educational categories were added. The educational category consisted of penmanship, book-keeping and the best map drawn of Manitoba or the Dominion of Canada. By the 1890's sponsorships began to come from Winnipeg. One noteworthy one...the Occidental Hotel on Main Street in Winnipeg!
This year, The St. Andrews-St. Clements Agricultural Society is excited to be celebrating 139 years! We will be hosting our annual Triple "S" Fair & Rodeo Exhibition on July 14th, 15th & 16th, 2017. This year's fair will be better than ever with the support of directors, community volunteers, sponsors, and spectators.