History of the Sydenham Fall Fair

“The Sydenham Fall Fair was established in 1853 and became an annual event held at Bothwell’s Corners in Owen Sound. The school fair became part of the Sydenham Fall Fair in 1941.  In 1967 the brand new Sydenham School was opened.  Principal Fred Furness added the children’s Garden Club to the roster of clubs which then included: poultry, calf, swine, horses and pets. The entire school was bussed to Woodford for the fair.  After that experience Fred Furness decided to hold the fall fair at the school and in 1968 the first fall fair was held at Sydenham School. Sydenham residents also participated providing baking, preserves, quilts, sewing and craft entries which were displayed in the school gymnasium

Through 1991 and 1992, Sydenham School went through a large renovation and addition. At that time the fair was moved to Victoria Park. Each year the entire school walked to the fall fair.  This continued until 2008. Petal Furness, (whose children were then attending Sydenham and participated in the Sydenham Fall Fair) from Grey Roots Museum & Archives, approached the Sydenham Fall Fair board to offer Moreston Heritage Village for the operation of the fall fair - an offer that was eagerly accepted and the fair has been held there very successfully ever since.

The Sydenham Fall Fair, perhaps the oldest and last remaining school-based fall fair, continues to grow and expand as new members and parents volunteer for the Sydenham Fall Fair Board.”

Sources:        A History of Agricultural Societies and Fairs in Ontario 1792-1992, Guy Scott

                        Oral Interview with Mr. Fred Furness, May 2, 2014

                        Petal Furness, Heritage Interpretation, Grey Roots


Images:          History of Sydenham Township: Centennial Project

Help preserve the history of the Sydenham Fall Fair. If you have photos from previous fair years, old Fall Fair booklets or other memorabilia that you would like to share with us we would love the opportunity to put photos on our website archive. Contact us here and let us know what gem's you have.