When dairy roy­alty reigned in Glen­garry

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -


News Staff It’s been 25 years since Glen­garry had a Dairy Princess, but the legacy of the 33 young ladies who wore the tiara be­tween 1957 and 1992 re­mains strong.

That was ev­i­denced at the Glen­garry Agri­cul­tural Wall of Fame din­ner and in­duc­tion cer­e­mony at the Met­calfe Cen­tre in Maxville on April 29 when 27 for­mer Glen­garry Dairy Princesses were on hand for their col­lec­tive in­duc­tion.

Carolyn McRae, an

Agri­cul­tural Wall of Fame com­mit­tee mem­ber, pointed out that a num­ber of for­mer lo­cal dairy princesses still re­side in the county, while many oth­ers live in East­ern On­tario.

How­ever, two ladies in par­tic­u­lar “trav­elled great dis­tances,” added Mrs. McRae, to at­tend the event – Shirley Grant Ritchie, Glen­garry Dairy Princess of 1968, who came from New Brunswick, and Jill Pem­ber­ton (1984, 1985) who flew in from Bri­tish Columbia.

Al­li­son Shan­non (née Arkin­stall), Glen­garry Dairy Princess in 1985 and 1986, grew up on her par­ents’ Hol­sten farm in Dun­ve­gan, and now re­sides with her hus­band, Greg, in Glen­burnie (Kingston), where the cou­ple has owned and op­er­ated Sun Har­vest Green­houses and Gar­den Cen­tre for the past 15 years.

Dur­ing a brief speech, Mrs. Shan­non spoke about the fra­ter­nal-like bond be­tween the win­ners, how their re­spec­tive tenures as dairy princess helped shape their lives, and the in­valu­able guid­ance they re­ceived from mem­bers of the lo­cal dairy com­mu­nity.

“I think there are a few things that we have in com­mon,” she said.

“We’re in­volved in an in­dus­try that is so fun­da­men­tally im­por­tant to the fab­ric of this county and to who we are, but we wouldn’t be as suc­cess­ful as we’ve been if it wasn’t for our con­nec­tions with peo­ple like He­len Thom­son, Lorraine Cameron, Sally Buchan and Joan P. Mac­Don­ald, who in­tro­duced us to our com­mu­nity of dairy farm­ers, brought us to their farms, made us part of the pro­gram and gave us all the sup­port we needed to be­come bet­ter lead­ers.

“And there’s also the fact that we are all dairy farm­ers’ daugh­ters, and still proud to say that,” added Mrs. Shan­non.

Clara MacLeod, a na­tive of Carievale, Sask. who later moved to North Glen­garry with her hus­band Rod – a lo­cal boy who’d gone out West one sum­mer to work in the an­nual grain har­vest and ended up bring­ing home a Prairie bride – was Glen­garry’s first Dairy Princess in 1957.

Be­sides a new­lyen­shrined Glen­garry Agri­cul­tural Wall of Fame mem­ber, Mrs. MacLeod was also a 2005 in­ductee into the Glen­garry Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame.

Mea­gan Robert­son of Bainsville was the last Glen­garry Dairy Princess in 1992, the fi­nal year of pub­lic com­pe­ti­tion.

Mrs. McRae pointed out Mea­gan’s vic­tory also marked the end of an era.

“The first Dairy Princess com­pe­ti­tions took place in a barn be­ing with no pub­lic au­di­ence,” she ex­plained.

“For many years, ma­chine milk­ing was an in­te­gral part of the com­pe­ti­tion, ac­count­ing for 50 per cent of the score, with the other 50 per cent awarded for the in­ter­view and speech...later those ac­counted for 70 per cent.

“But the role of Dairy Princess tran­si­tioned, from farm girl whose win de­pended a great deal on her abil­ity to milk a cow, to one who demon­strated an abil­ity to pro­mote milk and milk prod­ucts to the gen­eral pub­lic. (By 1992) she be­came an am­bas­sador to the milk in­dus­try... a dairy ed­u­ca­tor.”

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