Delta Agricultural Society

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Delta Agricultural Society

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        Dates of existence

        1906-1993

        History

        The Delta Agricultural Society was founded in 1888, at a meeting of farmers chaired by William Ladner. The first executive consisted of John Kirkland, President; J.C. Calhoun, Vice-President; H.N. Rich, Secretary; and the following Directors: William Pybus, J.A. Paterson, John McKee Jr., William Arthur and P.W. Swett. The society was incorporated under a special act in 1888 and re-incorporated in 1916 under the "Agricultural Associations Act, 1914." The society's objectives were to encourage the raising of improved stock; the use of the best methods in cultivation of the soil, and to foster household arts. The society petitioned the government for 24 acres of the Trennant Public School reserve to be used as an agricultural show ground and for erecting buildings, and, subsequently, the Delta Agricultural Society obtained a 25 year lease on the property now known as Paterson Park. The Society obtained title to the property in 1902. In 1899, the society built the Delta Agricultural Hall and used it for farm fairs until the 1920s. In order to further one of the society's goals, improving the breeding of horses, the land they acquired from the government was developed into a racetrack for harness racing and the races were held until 1968. The Delta Trotting and Pacing Association and Delta Driving Park Association were created to support the interests of and were directed by members of the Delta Agricultural Society. The society sold portions of Paterson Park to Kwantlen College in 1993 and the Corporation of Delta in 1999. Although the Society no longer operates the racetrack or Paterson Park, it is one of the major funders of community works in Delta. Between 1994 and 1998, the society donated more than 1.3 million dollars to community groups, facilities and projects, including the Delta Hospital, McKee House Senior Recreation Centre, Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust, and the Delta Museum and Archives.

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