Dusting off an antique in aid of a good cause
BY MARGARET CALDBICK
News Staff After languishing in a Glengarry shed for over half a century, an early Massey-Harris match plow with a storied history will go under the hammer at the International Plowing Match to raise money for the Ottawa Heart Institute.
Up for auction is a fully restored Massey-Harris No. 51 single-furrow walking plow with a distinguished provenance.
The plow was owned by Glengarry plowman Donald MacGillivray, of Dalkeith, who used the implement when he competed at plowing matches in the 1930s and 1940s.
Donald MacGillivray who died in 2014 at age 89 is still remembered for his skill as a competitive plowman and for his contributions as a coach and judge at local and regional matches and IPMs.
Before buying his first tractor in 1949, when horses were still the prime power source on many Glengarry farms, Mr. MacGillivray, a fine horseman, used teams to plow his fields. He was active in the Glengarry Plowmen’s Association, the Eastern Counties Plowmen’s Association and the Ontario Association. The plow is being donated by Donald’s son, Ross MacGillivray, a member of the Ontario Plowmen’s Association (OPA) and the Glengarry Plowmen, a former tractor class competitor, a plowing judge since 2000, and this year, the International Plowing Match executive committee member in charge of the IPM tractor park.
Mr. MacGillivray is donating the antique to raise money for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation. In 2010, Mr. MacGillivray had successful heart surgery performed by cardiac surgeon and professor of cardiac surgery Dr. Paul Hendry at the institute.
The plow will be auctioned off at the IPM Horsemen’s Barbecue on Tuesday evening, September 22, at the Newington Fairgrounds where the event’s horses are being stabled.
The auction is expected to attract intense interest, with bidding spurred on not just by altruism and nostalgia but because the Massey-Harris No. 51 is still the plow of choice at plowing matches and an intact original is a rare find. The plow was restored last year in Southwestern Ontario by Wayne Gurney, of Drumbo, past president of the Drumbo Fall Fair, and a hobbyist restorer of antique horse-drawn wagons and farm machinery.
“It was all original and solid— I was really surprised when I saw it,” says Mr. Gurney. “The handles only needed a light sanding. It was always stored inside so there were no cracks in the handles and the steel was solid, there was no wear at all. I just took it all apart, sandblasted it and started over.”