The Lachute agricultural exhibition is the oldest fair in Quebec and the second oldest in Canada. This year, we will be celebrating our 191st edition. In the years 1825 and 1826, meetings of the inhabitants of the county of York met in the then bustling business centre of St. Andrews, to form themselves into a Society to be called “The county of York Agricultural society”, later to the Two Mountains Agricultural Society and finally to the county of Argenteuil Agricultural Society, the object of which being to improve the mode of Agriculture in the county is every means in their power.
The Year of Confederation, 1867 saw the classes filled to capacity with exhibits of materials of wool ready to be spun, dressed flannel blankets, fancy work and linen, with many classes of wheat, rye, flax, barley, white beans and peas in the crop section with apples, pears, grapes, butter and cheese displayed in abundance. With the cost of living going up all the time it was decided in 1879 that a charge of 10¢ be levied for entrance to the Fall Exhibition. The dawning of a new year, 1883 brought with it the question that had been plaguing the Society for a number of years, “Where to establish a permanent site for the Exhibition?” Three sites were chosen, St. Andrews Village, on or near Lachute Village, and in Chatham. A number of offers were made, however, the village of Lachute was decided upon as the central point of the County, it is also being served by the Railway. The matter couldn’t be settled amicably until finally in 1886, a Company called the Agricultural Permanent Exhibition Company of the county of Argenteuil procured land from Mr. Henry Hammond in the Township of Chatham, near the Village of Lachute.
Gradually the shares of the Company were acquired by the Society and the land was purchased to hold the Exhibition permanently in Lachute. 1917 saw the construction of the grandstand and the track, with new cow and horse barns being constructed as time and money allowed. The Fall Fair was changed to a Spring Fair in 1925 so that it could be deemed strictly a Livestock show. Today the Expo Lachute Fair is an annual event, and will be held in the first 2 weeks of July.
The fall of 1967 saw the end of a tradition and a meeting place over many years when the main building was destroyed by fire.
In 1985, the heavy horse barn was built. Storrs McCall donated generously towards the construction of the new dairy barn which was built in 1994. In September of 1996, work started on covering the grandstand.
With hard work and dedication from the directors of the Argenteuil Agricultural Society and all the volunteers and sponsors, we hope our 191th annual fair will bring enjoyment to all who attend.