Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News
VARS — Hobbled by COVID-19, action-oriented Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario is headed into 2021 without any plans for undertaking its lifeblood tours of machinery collections or, in fact, of meeting in any way at all.
The vibrant club that protects and promotes heritage rural artifacts and customs usually starts into the New Year with a bang at the annual meeting held early in February on a Sunday afternoon at Malborough Community Centre near North Gower.
The hall is routinely filled with a large portion of the 200 VITEO members from across the region attracted by business items including executive elections, a small auction, guessing the use of several obscure pieces of equipment, sale of club logo clothing, and leisurely socializing over ample, mostly homemade refreshments.
The annual meeting gets everyone back into the spirit of the collectors’ club and prepares them for a full roster of events during the course of the year. While the 2020 annual meeting occurred just before the original C-19 lockdown, the 2021 event has been cancelled due to the virus, said VITEO secretary Sharen Armstrong.
Not only that, with COVID numbers ramping up and increasingly desperate counter measures being implemented, there are no other activities on the horizon. Last year, almost all gatherings were cancelled except for a few sufficiently distanced tractor parades led by VITEO president Francois Latour of Embrun.
Before the Holiday Season, the club went online to conduct its annual Toy Auction which in the past was held at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show cancelled last year as well in 2021. With a limit of 100 donated and consigned items, the event brought more than $13,000 into the VITEO coffres. Some of the money was used to put together Christmas gift baskets for four Eastern Ontario residents who had suffered farm-related injuries.
The top seller in the auction was a toy Minneapolis Moline, Model U, first off the line in a set of 100 similar models bearing a COVID commemorative sticker. As he has in the past, Athens (Ontario) uber collector George Tackaberry bought the toy, paying a whopping $5050 gifted to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Meanwhile, Armstrong said, other MM models have continued to sell as part of the annual project, with 30 remaining. Orders can be placed with VITEO director Daryl Payne, 613-989-5699.
As for Armstrong, locked down by Covid, she said she’s decluttering to the point she’ll soon have an empty house.