With the Aggie Hall in the background

Looking Back: Origins of the country fair

Prior to 1959, the heart of the community was Aggie Hall and it’s grounds.

Prior to the 1959 move of the agricultural association, to the Albion Fairgrounds, the heart of the community was the Aggie Hall and it’s grounds, which lay where Haney Place Mall is now.

The hall was built in 1909 on land that had been owned by Thomas Haney.

It allowed the annual fair to be moved from the municipal hall on Callaghan Street, where there was not sufficient outdoor space for livestock competitions, to the new hall where there was plenty of room for indoor displays and for livestock pens outdoors.

The annual fair was a much anticipated event.

Competition was fierce and for many people it could boost their ability to make a living if their stock or vegetables won prizes.

In those days, agriculture was not something that other people did – it touched every home in some way.

For women, the main areas of competition were canning, baking and fibre arts.

Canned goods were vital for winter and could be traded for other items.

Baking was a matter of pride as it was determined who made the most perfect pie crust or the most magnificent loaves of bread.

The fibre arts included sewing and knitting and quilting and were often an indication of thrifty re-use of items, which had already had a life or two.

Used clothing, flour sacks, and worn bedding were all incorporated  in beautiful quilts that would be displayed for all to see.

The fair usually included a quilt in progress by the local Women’s Institute, which would work on the quilt at the fair, selling blank white spaces for a quarter. The buyer would then have their name neatly embroidered on the quilt, which would be raffled at the end of the fair.

We have several of these quilts in the museum collection and the names show residents and visitors contributed.

The Aggie grounds were also home to sports like baseball and lacrosse, though the ball players never liked sharing their field with cows, who made deep ankle-threatening holes when the field was muddy.

By the later 1950s, the ball players had moved to Pete Telosky’s stadium and the growing district had municipal government eyeing the Aggie grounds hungrily.

In 1959, the district purchased Spencer farm in Albion and traded it to the Maple Ridge Agricultural Association in exchange for the original grounds.

 

– By Val Patenaude of the Maple Ridge Museum.

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge man to the rescue twice in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

Driver from 2005 vehicle dragging death in Maple Ridge dies

Grant De Patie killed while working at gas station

Crown drops one Vernon assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

Start of Maple Ridge B-Line bus service may be delayed

TransLink says new service could start next year, some time

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read