Monday, February 28, 2022, by Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies


For Immediate Release

February 28, 2022– For over 175 years, the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) has been adapting to change, and this past week was no exception.  Despite the many challenges of organizing an in-person event, approximately 500 delegates attended the OAAS Annual Convention and Annual Meeting in Richmond Hill.

The OAAS was pleased to have been joined by Minister Lisa Thompson, at our Official Opening, bringing greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). She spoke of her continuing support for the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig Opening OAAS Convention

The highlight of the Convention was the launch of the “OAAS 175th - Central Canada Exhibition Association Scholarship“ at the Official Opening.  The OAAS, in partnership with the Central Canada Exhibition Association (CCEA), has created a scholarship program recognizing youth who have been actively involved in their home agricultural societies and fairs.

Scholarships will be $2,000 each and the first scholarships will be granted in the fall of 2022. Additional information regarding the application process will be released this spring.

Mark Lamoureaux (Past President) and Lynda McCuaig (1st Vice President), on behalf of the Central Canada Exhibition Association, presented a $200,000 donation to the newly created scholarship fund.  

For 125 years the Central Canada Exhibition, located in Ottawa, provided a venue for many generations of exhibitors to showcase their livestock, produce and handicrafts.  When it became evident that the CCEA could not carry on due to many circumstances, the sad decision was made to dissolve the Association.  It was decided by the trustees of the CCEA that a legacy should be provided to the rural youth by providing bursaries/grants to further their careers. It seemed only fitting that the descendants of those exhibitors should benefit.  Money from the sale of CCEA property has been given to all the fairs in OAAS District # 1; the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies; and various rural organizations throughout Ontario for that purpose.

The Central Canada Exhibition will live forever in the memories of those that experienced it and now with bursaries to further education help build a better Ontario.

photo 1 CCEA Cheque Presentation jim McCuaig

Central Canada Exhibition Association presentation of $200,000 donation to the newly created “OAAS 175th Central Canada Exhibition Association Scholarship”.   Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig – taken February 18th at the Official Opening

L to R Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager; Beth Howell-Vervaecke, President; Lynda McCuaig, Central Canada Exhibition Association 1st Vice President; Mark Lamoureaux, Central Canada Exhibition Association Past President; Heather Owens, OAAS.

The OAAS continues to recognize the importance of youth involvement in our agricultural societies to ensure future volunteers, members, and directors.  In addition to the scholarship, the OAAS has developed a new program to assist agricultural societies to enhance the participation of youth in their organizations, events, and activities.

The OAAS Convention once again offered delegates the choice of over 40 educational seminars and round-tables as well as entertainment, family showcases, and the Tradeshow.

The Convention concluded with the first hybrid OAAS Annual General Meeting with a large number of delegates representing agricultural societies from across the province in attendance either in person or via Zoom. The morning opened with a presentation from the University of Guelph and RBC about the new “Foundations in Agricultural Management” program. The OAAS was pleased to have been joined by Senator Rob Black, bringing greetings, congratulations, and pledging his continued support to the OAAS and their Agricultural Societies.

Introducing the 2022 OAAS Executive:

Liz O’Gorman-Smit, incoming 2022 – 2023 OAAS President.    Photo Credit – Jim McCuaig – taken February 19th  at AGM

  •     Liz O'Gorman-Smit, President, Russell
  •     Glen Syme, 1st Vice President (District 2)
  •     Heather Owens, 2nd Vice President (District 3)
  •     Beth Howell-Vervaecke, Past-President


For more information on the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) and our Ontario Agricultural Societies and their fairs, visit 

Vince Brennan, OAAS Manager
P: 613-395-2465
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.