Here in Windsor most people only know us for our giant pumpkins and for discovering the great sport of hockey, but not nearly as many realize that we also held the first county fair in Canada. Now known as the Hants County exhibition it’s an event in town that we all look forward to, and it all began in 1765. It wasn’t the fair we know it to be today, in fact it wasn’t held in the same spot down on the aptly named exhibition grounds. The very first fair was held on the grounds of Fort Edward on May 21, 1765.
At this point in history there was no ongoing battles at the Fort, so it seemed the perfect place to hold a gathering that would draw in families from all over the area. The agriculture fair was similar to the Hants County exhibition we all know so well, just minus all the carnival rides. The fair focused more on the agriculture and community aspects of the county featuring livestock, produce and sport competitions. Just like today the winners would win prizes for their hard work that were donated by gentlemen from Halifax. The event quickly gained popularity and they begin hosting the fair semi-regularly.
Unfortunately as time went on, Fort Edward was needed again as a military force and the fair ceased to be. Luckily it was popular enough to be rebooted in 1815, and has continued on since to become the event we all know and love. Our great exhibition is even known as one of the longest running fairs on the continent.
As that time of year has quickly come upon us again take some time to relive the old days of the fair as you walk around the exhibition grounds. You may want to wander up to the historic site of Fort Edward that is still standing and take a walk around to immerse yourself in the rich history of our fair.
Abbie, summer student