Fairs of District 5
Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies

2023 District 5 AGM in Sutton

2023 District 5 AGM in Sutton

The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies – District 5 Annual General Meeting wrapped up on Saturday October 28, 2023 at Kin Hall in Sutton.

See photos from the event at Kin Hall.

Thank you Deanna for sharing your notes. More Notes to be added from Jaimie.  Please come back soon!

Notes from Lorna Wilson

District 5 Provincial Director

OAAS Provincial Meeting

Last weekend the Provincial Directors held a marathon meeting as we all get ready for the ONCA regulations coming October 2024.

OAAS Day at the CNE

OAAS Day at the CNE was once again hosted by D5. Many thanks to Bev and Cathy from Schomberg Ag Society and Kathryn from Acton Ag Society who volunteered for the day. This year the day was held on the Sunday of the Ambassador of the Fairs competition and I know we had more traffic and interest in our exhibit. We also had folks write their favourite fair on a piece of coloured paper which we then strung across the exhibit.
This year the IPM was held in District 5. That meant D5 was responsible for the booth at the match for 5 days. My thanks to Beth Wink (Beeton), Jenn Kean and Nancy Payne (Woodbridge), Mike Dupuis District 10 PD and of course my better half Lorne. My sister filled in a last minute gap. The booth featured a daily draw for a 2024 OAAS fair pass which was popular! As well, we conducted a survey on fairs/ ag societies with folks who had a few minutes to spare. Visitors to the booth included Vince, E.D. Senator Rob Black and Lisa Thompson Min. of Ag for Ontario.

Police Check

If you interact with youth, I strongly advise a vulnerable police check. This is to protect you!!! If you do not interact with youth, but have contact with money etc., it is advisable to get a criminal police check. Again, the suggestion is there to protect you. I realize these weren’t a ‘thing’ years ago, but neither was the atmosphere and society we live in today. Which reminds me. Mine is due shortly.  There is a templated letter on the OAAS website for you to submit with your request.

Hotel Rooms

All rooms at the Sheraton Parkway North and the Best Western Hotels sold out quickly. There is a waiting list of 50 people for hotel rooms for the 2024 Convention. Last year, as the rooms that agricultural societies had booked were cancelled, these rooms were sold to the general public which resulted in noise complaints As well, the OAAS did not fill their room block, which could have resulted in penalties to us. Beginning this year, the OAAS is being billed for seminar room usage which hadn’t happened in the past.

New Convention Format

The Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) is excited to share the news that the 2024 Convention is going to look a little different. AND we listened, it is not family day weekend!

This is also the last convention for the Poster Competition. . It will not be held at the 2025 Convention (and 2024 District Competitions). This is due to a low participation rate for the last few years. OAAS is looking for a suitable replacement for the Poster Competition. Please email me with your suggestions.

Thanks to the agricultural societies and districts that supported the 2023 Convention.  The 2024 sponsorship packages will be sent out and posted on the website shortly.

Thank you to the nearly 500 participants who completed the “Future of the OAAS Convention” survey in late February.
The responses were very strong in terms of date, location and format and so with that, the 2024 OAAS Convention is set to take place on February 22-24, at the Sheraton Parkway, Toronto North Hotel, in Richmond Hill, this is one week later, avoiding the Family Day weekend.
The convention schedule is being extended and will now include a full day Saturday, with Convention closing on the Saturday evening concluding with the Ambassador Introductions and Live Entertainment. With this modification, it will provide additional opportunities for networking, socializing and more educational sessions, as well as providing more time for eating and enjoying the extra features of the convention, without feeling rushed.

First Impressions Program

Slide 6: If your fair is not participating in the First Impressions Program for 2024, we ask that you check it out. The program is the same, however, the resource material has been freshened up, and a pamphlet is in the development stage. Information is available on the Board website (First Impression & Strategic Planning Program (ontarioagsocieties.com)) to provide you with additional information. If you have questions, please get in touch with firstimpressions@oaasfairs.com

OAAS Executive for 2024

Your OAAS Executive have all answered the call to stand for a second term.  As well, staff titles have been updated to reflect their roles and there is now an admin assistant, to take some of the burden off the E.D.  It is strongly advised that you contact the P.D. first before contacting the OAAS office. If I cannot assist you, I will forward your email to the appropriate staff contact.

President: Glen Syme

Vice President: Heather Owens

2nd Vice President: Grace Pearson (nee Mullen)

Past President: Liz O’Gorman-Smit


Executive Director: Vince Brennan

OAAS Administration: Brenda Tipping

Convention Manager: Kathryn Lambert

OAAS Policies and Terms of Reference

The OAAS and the Governance Committee are actively working on updating the OAAS Policies and Terms of Reference documents to mesh with the changes required in our Constitution, Articles and Bylaws to comply with the AHOA and ONCA and our insurance obligations. Watch for more information to come!

The TPON System

OMAFRA is planning two sessions(November and January) to assist agricultural societies in understanding the TPON system which is where we post our annual AHOA report. We will forward dates and other information once they become available

Many Ag Societies have not updated or even looked at their Governance documents . When was the last time your Ag Society held Leadership Training?
We have been working with ROI to create “Leadership Training and Governance” workshops. We have applied for GrassRoots funding and are waiting to get approval. The plan is to hold multiple workshops across the province in each year of a 3-year project. More information will follow if the funding request is successful..!We continue working with AssistExpo on the Judging Program database and updated website, but progress is slower than initially anticipated. As with any new project, it takes longer than hoped. This will be worth the wait!

OAAS is proud of the success of its Webinars. Is there something you would like to suggest for a Spring webinar? Please forward your suggestions to vince@oaasfairs.com

CCEA Scholarship

2 years ago, the Central Canada Exhibition Association gifted OAAS with $200,000 as a result of their disbanding. The OAAS created the175th CCEA Scholarship – Congratulations to the six lucky recipients, especially Julie French of Albion Bolton Agricultural Society in District 5. The committee received 16 excellent applications. They have been announced on our social media and will be posted on our website soon. The lucky recipients each received a $2,000 scholarship and will receive an invitation to attend the Convention. Details for applying for next year are on our website – applications will open in 2024.   https://ontarioagsocieties.ca/agricultural-society-info/youth-program


Recognize Your Volunteers

IMPORTANT: Awards must be ordered at least four weeks before the presentation. the link is on our website. You can see descriptions of the awards on the OAAS website.   https://ontarioagsocieties.ca/agricultural-society-info/forms

Recognize your volunteers by presenting Years of Service, Accomplishment, and Meritorious Service Awards.

An updated copy of the ‘Checklist for Districts’ for information that districts must    submit to the OAAS has been sent out. (Posted on the website under the board tab)

REMINDER – notices have been sent out for the 2024 OAAS membership fees  which are due by December 1st.  Late fees will be charged after that date as per OAAS policy.

Many thanks to the many societies who have already paid their fees.

Youth Volunteers

I hope you are all welcoming and mentoring the young people volunteering at not only your fair but on your AG Society board.  The OAAS has a strong youth committee thanks to volunteers like D5’s Linda Murray. Youth committee video. There is so much more material available on the OAAS website to assist you with getting and keeping the next generation of ag society and fair volunteers.

How to reach me…
mobile- 905-691-4803 call or text.


Notes taken from Deanna Cheriton

2023 Homecraft President of Markham Fair


  1. Financials
    • The fiscal year is September 1 – August 30.
    • More revenue than past years because judging schools resumed.
    • Anticipate more expenses for educational activities, especially about Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (aka ONCA), in 2023-2024.


  1. Annual Meeting Dates (Fair President, Homecraft President, board members and other members can attend – Homecraft President is responsible for bringing entries that qualify for District 5 competition)
    • 2024 – hosted by Markham – October 26, 2024
    • 2025 – hosted by Flos Ag. Society (Elmvale) – October 25, 2025
    • 2026 – hosted by Barrie – October 24, 2026


  1. Spring Meeting Dates (Fair President and Homecraft President attend)
    • 2024 – hosted by Schomberg Ag. Society – April 13, 2024
    • 2025 – hosted by Caledon Ag. Society – April 26, 2025
    • 2026 – hosted by Beeton Ag. Society – April 11, 2026


  1. Directors Reports
  2. Agriculture
    • OAAS Convention
      • February 22-24, 2024
      • New format, with sessions Thursday morning and workshops starting at 3 pm, and full days Friday and Saturday
  1. Homecraft
    • Judging schools
      • 2023
        • Managed to hold 4 judging schools this year; to others were cancelled because of low enrollment
        • Markham Fair was thanked for offering to host a judging school and its support for judging schools, even though the event that was to take place was cancelled because of low enrollment
      • 2024
        • Aiming for 3 judging schools in spring
        • I offered Markham Fair as a host again – specific date and topic to be confirmed
          • Homecraft will help support that event
          • Request that we offer the rental for free, as we offered in 2023. These schools are run with minimal costs and revenues.
        • Schomberg, Barrie and another fair (I didn’t catch the name) offered to host schools, too.
  1. Provincial
    • The OAAS Constitution is being updated, and will be reduced in size.
    • Strongly recommend police checks if handling cash and vulnerable sector screening if interacting with youth
      • Some police services require a request form – a template is available on the OAAS website
    • OAAS Convention
      • February 22-24 – the weekend after Family Day weekend
      • Contact: Kathryn Lambert, Convention Manager, 519-287-3553, convention@oaasfairs.com
      • Please cancel rooms through OAAS – there is a waiting list so rooms can go to those on the waiting list, not the general public, if it is coordinated through OAAS
      • This is the last convention for youth poster competition.
      • Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Lorna Wilson, District 5 rep (lorna@oaasfairs.com), or Kathryn Lambert, Convention Manager (convention@oaasfairs.com)
      • A tentative schedule is available on https://www.ontarioagsocieties.com/convention/2024-oaas-convention; a final schedule of sessions will be released soon
        • The Annual General Meeting is Saturday at 1:30 pm *Scott
      • First impression and strategic planning program offered through OAAS – it is another set of eyes looking at your fair
      • Contact: firstimpressions@oaasfairs.com
    • Contacting OAAS
      • Please contact Lorna Wilson, District 5 rep, first
        • She may be able to answer. If not, she will send it to the best OAAS person.
    • OAAS Governance
      • There will be some seminars on policies, etc., coming up in the new year.
      • Planning sessions in November and January – watch Facebook and website for more info
      • Deadline is February 1, 2024
      • Working on leadership and governance workshops – aiming for 3 per year for the next 3 years
    • Webinars
    • OAAS membership fees
      • Due December 1
    • Certificates


  1. District Ambassador Program
    • Only 3 ambassadors attended the summer session hosted by the Great Northern Exhibition, where training included elevator pitches.
    • District 5 has placed in top 7 at the CNE competition every year since 2017
    • OAAS Convention will have a stream for Ambassadors
    • Please keep Morgan informed – she is eager to attend whenever possible


  1. New Business
  2. Motion for Convention Article Donation
    • Sutton Fair matched the $150 donation from District 5, totaling $300
      • No pressure for 2024!
  1. Other
    • Please get District meeting registrations in as soon as possible
      • Get the dates in your calendars now
      • Contact Jamie Maynard (jamiemaynard@bellnet.ca) if you would like additional emails added to the circulation list.


  1. Election and Appointment of Officers
  2. Agricultural Director: Cathy Pezzo, Schomberg
  3. Associate Agricultural Director: Nancy Payne, Woodbridge
  4. Homecraft Director: Norma-Jean Stephenson-Franz, Schomberg
  5. Associated Homecraft Director: Pat Kalapaka, Grand Valley
    • With the Homecraft directors remaining the same and new 2-year terms for Ag. directors, this put District 5 back on track to having alternating election years between Ag. and Homecraft.


  1. Guest Speaker: Sherry Saevil – Diversity and Inclusion


    • Indigenous Education Advisor at Halton Catholic District School Board, invited by Country Heritage
    • Great speaker about Indigenous truth and reconciliation
      • Emphasized making any land acknowledgements meaningful, not just reading the standard to check it off the list
    • I’ll connect with Shae-Lynn about some opportunities that I thought Markham Fair could pursue


  1. District Policy Guidelines
    • Will be circulated by Jamie Maynard at a later date.


  1. Announcement of District Winners
    • Markham Fair placed in 2 categories
      • 1st in Youth Poster (junior) – Brooklyn Fabroa
        • Will advance to OAAS competition at OAAS Convention
      • 2nd in Hand Quilt – Wendy Ferguson
    • We also had entries in machine quilt, youth chocolate chip cookies, and youth poster (intermediate and senior)



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