Lindsay to host in 2021
NORTH GRENVILLE — The COVID-19 pandemic has kiboshed the 2020 International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM), delaying the local arrival of the 600-acre agricultural extravaganza and “tented city” in Kemptville until autumn 2022.
The Lindsay Exhibition fairgrounds, in the Municipality of Kawartha Lakes, was slated to host the IPM this year. The former Kemptville College campus, in the Municipality of North Grenville, was set to follow in 2021. But with the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) officially calling off the 2020 edition last week, the schedule is bumped back a year for both respective communities: The largest annual event of its kind in North America will instead descend upon Lindsay in 2021 (Oct. 13-16) and Kemptville in 2022 (Sept. 20-24).
North Grenville Council and Mayor Nancy Peckford in March endorsed a lately emerged OPA proposal to bring the 2021 IPM to Kemptville — just 18 months in advance of the event as envisioned at the time. “We were definitely kind of shocked at how soon Nancy came to discuss this matter with us,” observed Catherine Maitland of the Grenville County Plowmen’s Association at the March 10 Committee of the Whole meeting, also reassuring the local politicians the group had the volunteers to help pull it off in partnership with the municipality. “We feel like we have what it takes. We are keen, and we are very thrilled to be working with you guys … ” said Maitland, accompanied by OPA Executive Director Cathy Lasby in the North Grenville Council Chamber at the time.
This year’s cancellation of what would have been the IPM’s 103rd edition represents a “most difficult decision,” says the OPA on its website, and only the third time the IPM has been called off since its founding 1913. “Ironically, the first cancellation was in 1918 when the quickly-spreading flu pandemic struck the City of Ottawa,” recounts the organization. “According to history, the Mayor of Ottawa and the Federal Minister of Agriculture denied the use of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa just the day before the IPM was to open. During the Second World War, the IPM did not open as it was important for all Canadians to dedicate their time and talents to the war efforts.”
Last year’s IPM took place in Verner, Ontario, drawing 81,000 visitors and attracting $4.7-million in attendee spending. The last Eastern Ontario IPM local to Kemptville occurred in 2015, when the Stormont County Plowmen’s Association hosted the event in Finch, North Stormont Township.