Middlesex Hall of Fame

Western Fair District is pleased and proud to serve as the home for the Middlesex County Agriculture Hall of Fame.

"History is made up of People - People who are part of events - Events that have developed the Province. Therefore while we are grateful for the things - the artifacts - in a museum, it is only right and fitting that we honour those men and women, who provided the dynamic, effective leadership which transformed our Province from forest wilderness to becoming a model of modern efficiency. Such were the people who did not live for self alone, but for the betterment of all mankind. There can be no better objective and no greater achievement."

William A. Stewart

The Hall Of Fame is sponsored by Libro Financial Group.  

2014 Middlesex County Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductees

February 3, 2014 - (London) – The Middlesex County Agricultural Hall of Fame, founded in 2000, recognizes the history and tradition of agriculture in Middlesex County.  The primary objective of the Agricultural Hall of Fame is to recognize those who have demonstrated unselfish achievements within the realm of agriculture and service to the rural community in Middlesex County and beyond.  Each year inductees are honoured at a Hall of Fame Luncheon during the Western Fair Farm Show and this year representatives are happy to announce this year’s honourees are T. Alex Edwards, Peter Lewington and James Murby.

 Middlesex Hall of Fame

T. Alex Edwards (1899-1968) resided in the Arva area and had aspirations of owning a purebred herd.  The opportunity came during the depression when, in partnership with his brothers, a small but select group of Aberdeen Angus females was acquired. This was followed by the purchase of Blackbird Bandolier of Page, a bull that was destined to become one of the immortals of the breed.  Under Alex’s leadership, the brothers proceeded to develop the Bandolier of Anoka family, a strain that was very popular throughout North America for many years.  Members of the Bandolier family were widely distributed throughout Canada and the United States thereby contributing to improvement in many herds.

While serving as Chairman of the Canadian National Livestock Records, President of the Canadian Aberdeen Angus Association and Director of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Alex Edwards exerted a profound influence over the policies of those national organizations. However, it was as a breeder and exhibitor of purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle that he made his greatest contribution to agriculture in general and the livestock industry in particular.  Alex’s ability as a judge was recognized on numerous occasions, as evidenced by the fact that he had the distinction of placing the awards at the great Perth Show and Sale in Scotland, the International at Chicago, the Royal Winter Fair and many of the other major fairs in Canada.

 Middlesex Hall of Fame

Peter Lewington (1923-1992) emigrated from England after World War II and settled near Bryanston.  Peter and his wife Jean were practical farmers with a passion for excellence. Their farm, Larigmoor, boasted a top notch dairy herd, and later a cow-calf beef herd, laying hens, turkeys and cash crops. This farm base gave Peter a reputation for practical credibility, for accurate and informative articles, and as an advocate of grassroots action. He was also instrumental in the development of a new form of farm magazine featuring content that focused on a particular crop or animal breed. This original concept lives on in the magazines now owned by AIS Communications.

From the 1940’s to the 1970’s, Peter Lewington was a farm journalist for top farm publications in both Canada and the U.S.  He also wrote for the CBC radio noon farm program and for several major newspapers; winning numerous writing awards.  Peter was a prescient analyst of trends and modernization in agriculture.  Perhaps his most hard fought legacy was his three  decade battle to bring  justice to farmers dealing with utilities  and  pipelines  crossing  their land.    

A 1978 court decision, upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1981, ruled that farmers must be adequately compensated when pipelines cross their land and that the topsoil must be protected. Mr. Lewington subsequently published a book recording the struggle and ultimate outcome, titled “No Right of Way: How Democracy Came to the Oil Patch”.  This achievement was followed by the formation of the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association (OPLA) and the Canadian Alliance of PLA’s.   In 1987, the University of Western Ontario awarded Peter an honourary Doctor of Laws degree for his important contribution to agriculture and to the protection of the rural environment.

 

James Murby (1912-2014) was born in Chicago and moved to Kerwood, Ontario in 1918.   Jim began his farming career by acquiring laying hens and producing meat birds as well as a herd of Horned Herford Cattle.  In 1945 his poultry barn burned down; at that time Jim and his wife Margaret decided to move closer to Toronto where he felt the market was more lucrative.  They purchased an existing poultry farm and in 1950 expanded when they bought a 100 acre farm and established (KCD) King Cole Ducks.  A new market was growing with the increased growth of the Asian Community in the Toronto area.  King Cole Ducks Ltd. now process 40,000 ducks per week, also has a feather plant which ships to Korea.  A cook plant was also added, which produces cooked and smoked duck products, which are shipped all over the world. 

King Cole is the only fully vertically integrated farm of its kind in North America: from research and development , breeding, hatching, growing and processing to product development/ cooking and shipping , every step in the process is truly “in house “ and hands on.  Under the strong leadership of James Murby, his family business has achieved many milestones in creating innovative duck products.  Jim kept a hand in the running of King Cole Ducks beyond the age of 97 years.  Today’s modern day legacy of his vision continues as KCD products proudly bear a red maple leaf all around the world.

"History is made up of People - People who are part of events - Events that have developed the Province. Therefore while we are grateful for the things - the artifacts - in a museum, it is only right and fitting that we honour those men and women, who provided the dynamic, effective leadership which transformed our Province from forest wilderness to becoming a model of modern efficiency. Such were the people who did not live for self alone, but for the betterment of all mankind. There can be no better objective and no greater achievement."   William A. Stewart

The induction ceremony will be held in the Carousel Room at the Western Fair District on Wednesday March 5th, 2014 at 11:30am.  For tickets or further information please contact Hugh Fletcher at (519) 666-1572.   The portraits of these men will be displayed with the Middlesex Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductees in the lobby of the Western Fair Agriplex.

 For More Information Contact:      

 Middlesex County Agricultural Hall of Fame                                               

Hugh Fletcher, Chair                                                              Lucia Lilbourne, Coordinator

hughfletcher@sympatico.ca  (519) 666-1572                       mfa4h@bellnet.ca   (519) 457-8444

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