The next event will take place in Oct. 2021
By Diego Flammini
One of rural Ontario’s marquee events will not happen in 2020.
The board of directors with the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) has decided to cancel this year’s International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM) because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We just couldn’t put our volunteers, our sponsors and our guests or anyone else at risk. It just wasn’t going to happen,” Sheila Marshall, president of the OPA, told Farms.com.
The event was scheduled to run from Oct. 14-17 at the Lindsay Exhibition Grounds in Kawartha Lakes and neighbouring farms.
Lindsay will host the 2021 IPM from Oct. 13-16.
The community of North Grenville, which was scheduled to host the 2021 IPM, will host the event in 2022 from Sept. 20-22 at Kemptville College and surrounding farms.
This year’s cancellation marks only the third in the event’s 107-year history.
The first one happened in 1918 when a flu pandemic started to affect the city of Ottawa.
The IPM was scheduled to take place at the Central Experimental Farm, but Mayor Harold Fisher and federal Agriculture Minister Thomas Crerar denied the use of the farm one day before the start of the event.
The second time IPM organizers decided not to hold the event was during the Second World War when Canadians dedicated themselves to the war efforts.
While organizers of other cancelled events in 2020 have delivered virtual versions of the scheduled event, that kind of format wouldn’t work for the IPM.
The plowing is the focal point of the event and that needs to be seen up close, Marshall said.
“We spoke to everyone we could, and they asked us if we could find a different way of hosting the event,” she said. “How do you plow a different way? You can only do it with a tractor and a plow.”