The Glencoe Agricultural Society annually hosts the fall fair for Glencoe and the surrounding community. It is an event that dates to the mid-nineteenth century when each township had their own fairs which then united in the 1870’s into a common fair held in Glencoe. Today the fair is always the third full weekend following Labour Day.
Local fairs have a long history in the Glencoe area*:
- Mosa Fair (1848** – 1874)
Mosa Twp had its own fair held at various locations. Strathburn, Wardsville, etc.)
- Metcalfe Fair (1854 – ?)
Metcalfe Twp had its fair which was later discontinued. North Metcalfe joined the Strathroy Fair, and South portion joined with Glencoe.
- Ekfrid Fair (1857 – 1876)
Ekfrid Twp had its own fair, held in Appin. This was held behind old Town Hall which is where the community centre is today.
- Glencoe Joint Fair (1875, 1876, Spring 1877)
Glencoe & Mosa Twp have a joint fair in Glencoe at the old Town Hall on McKellar Street. (The Village of Glencoe did not previously have a fair.)
- Glencoe Union Fair (1877 – 1878)
Glencoe, Mosa & Ekfrid Twps had joint fall fairs at Glencoe Town Hall.
- Glencoe Fair (1879 – 1890)
Glencoe, Mosa & Ekfrid Union fair at Graham property (10 year lease) at the South end of Glencoe. Fairgrounds called “The Driving Park”. A race track and Glencoe’s first Crystal Palace is built in 1879 on the Graham property.
- Glencoe Fair (1891 – Present)
In 1891 the Mosa & Ekfrid agricultural societies unite and became “The Mosa and Ekfrid Union Agricultural Society”. Land at current fairground (North end of Glencoe) was purchased in 1891 and the first fair was held at the current fairgrounds. The property with race track was owned by John McAlpine and was leased for the fair. Glencoe’s second Crystal Palace was built in 1892. The grandstand facing the race track was built in 1892˟ on fair board property. In 1910 the property with race track was purchased by the fair board.
Glencoe’s first town hall was a two story wooden frame structure built in 1871 on McKellar St. across from the current municipal building. The property on the west side of the town hall was an open field and the site of Glencoe’s first fairs, and the hall was used for displays and activities. A fire destroyed the town hall in 1893 and a large brick town hall was built on the East side of Main St. in 1898. In 1962 the current municipal building was built and the previous brick town hall was demolished. Image courtesy of H. Carruthers, Glencoe Historian.
Property owned by John McAlpine had a race track and park known as Recreation Park. When the fair aquired the adjacent property in 1891 the grand stand was built on the fair grounds overlooking the track. The Recreation Park was leased by the Union Fair Board until 1910 when the track and property was purchased by the Fair Board. The grandstand was destroyed by fire in 1954. A new stand was built for the 1955 fair. Photo courtesy of H. Carruthers, Glencoe Historian. Date before 1955.
Glencoe Memorial Arena, opened in October 1972 and the previous Glencoe Arena* was later dismantled. During the annual Glencoe Fair the arena is used for agricultural displays and competitions.Photo by N. Jackson, 2012.
* The Carman Arena was built in 1922 on the South-East corner of McKellar and Currie St. where the current ambulance dispatch is located. The Carman Arena offered skating, hockey, and curling. Originally financed by local residents it was a municipality operated building. The building was dismantled in 1980.
The stone gates at the fair ground entrance were built in 1967 celebrating Canada’s centennial. Photo by N. Jackson, 2012.
A view of the current fairgrounds. The race track (blue) and items A-E no longer exist. (A)Crystal Palace; (B)Grand Stand; (C)Band Stand; (D)Judges Booth; (E)Livestock Pens; (F)Agricultural Building; (G)Curling Arena; (H) Arena. Google Satellite Image, 2012
Glencoe Fair, Sept 30 1908. Race track in foreground, Crystal Palace top right. Photo courtesy of H. Carruthers, Glencoe Historian.
The Crystal Palace converted into World War II POW barracks. In 1961 the building was sold and removed from the fair grounds. Photo from Transcript Free Press June 1, 1942.
The Glencoe Agricultural Building was built in 1961. Originally it was a 120×40 building designed to house exhibits. Heating, offices and washrooms were added later, the kitchen was added in 1966 enabling the building to be used for banquets and community functions. A curling arena was added to the building, leased by the Glencoe & District Curling Club for six months of the year. The stone gates were added in 1967 as a project celebrating Canada’s centennial year. Photo by N. Jackson, 2012.
The first Glencoe Fairs were held at the town hall (A). The fair was moved to the Graham property South of Glencoe in 1879 (not on map). In 1891 the fair was moved to its current location (B). The original town hall burned and a new brick town hall was built in 1898 (C). The Carman Arena was built in 1922 (D). The current municipal building (E) was built in 1962 and the old town hall was demolished. Atlas of Middlesex County, 1878.