Renfrew County seeking another International Plowing Match
Sean ChaseéDaily Observer Established in 1861, the County of Renfrew is made up of 17 lower tier municipalities.
Renfrew County councillors are enthusiastic about the prospects of the region once more hosting the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo (IPM).
The development and property committee reported to County council on Wednesday that business development officer David Wybou recently took part in a fact-finding mission conducted the IPM's organizers, the Ontario Plowmen's Association, to provide information and guidance to communities interested in hosting the event in 2021.
The county last hosted the IPM in 1994 on Gary and Bev Smith's farm in Laurentian Valley. It attracted a total attendance of 65,000 raising $500,000 in proceeds which went to help establish Renfrew County's 911 system, including the work of setting up the civic addressing and the communications equipment to make it operate.
“It was one of the most successful plowing matches ever put in place,” said Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet, chairman of the development and property committee. “It's an opportunity for us to take a look at this and see if it is a viable option.”
Started in 1913, the IPM is the premiere farm show in North America featuring plowing match competition, exhibits, vendors demonstrations and entertainment that celebrate rural life. The next edition of the IPM will be in Chatham-Kent in late September. Admaston/Bromley Mayor Michael Donohue said the time has come to bring it back noting that there was much skepticism that the county could put on such a show 23 years ago.
“The smaller municipalities will demonstrate, as they did in '94, how wrong people can be when they would suggest that we cannot do these things in Renfrew County,” said Donohue.
The development and property committee has directed staff to develop an outline and potential budget for the opportunity to host the 2021 IPM and then make a recommendation which will be brought before County council.
“Economic development is about bringing people into the community and here is an opportunity to bring 65,000 individuals into Renfrew County,” remarked Sweet.