What began as a rental request for a sound system turned into a documentary film production. On the first sunny Saturday in May, a perfect crop planting day, farmers from Glengarry and beyond, climbed off their tractors and gathered in Williamstown to share their stories. The special event was a Canada 150 project organized by Ian Cumming, writer with the Ontario Farmer and Peter McLeod, board member of the Glengarry Federation of Agriculture and the Glengarry Nor’Westers & Loyalist Museum.
The concept was to record the living memories of the region’s agricultural history. The hardships experienced in the early years and progress with advances in technological were common themes. We would hear from farmers, some whose farms had been in their family since the times of United Empire Loyalist settlement of the late 1700s.
In press conference style, KAV Productions filmed presentations in front of a packed house at Ye Olde Bridge Cafe. The goal was to record and preserve these oral histories for future generations. We would hear from twenty speakers that represented a cross-section of the area’s farms and ag business: the post-war Dutch immigrants, the French Canadian community, the Scots, the UEL and their descendants, and some key players in the development of agricultural services like milk marketing, 4H and tile drainage.
When the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and it’s Glengarry branch learned of the ambitious project they graciously offered support to bolster the video production. At a time of the year when the countryside was looking so idyllic, this film-maker couldn’t help but be inspired to capture the amazing rural beauty found in Eastern Ontario. From the Sangsters’ General Store in Bainsville to the historic Wyman farm on the Ottawa River in Chute a Blondeau. Supporting footage for our documentary was not in short supply. Tied together with narration by Keith Clingen, retired voice man from CJSS and CFLG, the 54 minute documentary is available on DVD as a keepsake for history buffs, or anyone with ties to Glengarry or rural Eastern Ontario.