About the Peterborough Agricultural Society

About The


Initially known as the Colborne District Agricultural Society (1842-1850) fairs were usually one day and held on the Court House Green. The name Peterborough Agricultural Society was adopted in 1854 and remained unchanged until 1867 during which time the one-day fairs were usually held in the fall on a Saturday at varying locations including Town Hall, Market Square, Water Street and the Court House. It was even once held in Norwood during these days.

1971 Reserve Grand Champion Bull

From 1867 to 1902, the fair was called The West Riding Fair and the Peterborough Central Exhibition. During this era these events ranged from mid-week two-day shows to four-day affairs and were held on what is now known as Morrow Park.

Bessie says, "Hey, that plate looks empty."

At the turn of the century as Peterborough became a city of industrial innovation, so did the fair. From 1903 to 1940 the fair was called the Peterboro Industrial Exhibition and was a full four-day event. During wartime the fair was cancelled so the grounds could be used for a training centre; a necessary but concerning act since no one knew if the fair would ever be held in Peterborough again.

The De Laval Clarifier

Following the war the name “Peterborough Exhibition” was coined and resumed as a five day show which ended on the Saturday before the CNE.

Although the dates, names and locations have changed the once constant is the spirit of showcasing innovation in agriculture.

4 in Hand Wagon Pull

Young people must be encouraged to take up farming and it is through agricultural colleges that they will do so. It is also through exhibitions, with their traditions, that the importance of agriculture can be impressed upon the public. The duty of the Fair has changed: it began as a task of improvement — a duty which has been taken over, in large part, by the state. Today the duty is to enter into the public mind and present the farming of tomorrow — and do so in the festive spirit introduced in the 19th century.

~ Peterborough Examiner, August 5, 1958 Editorial

About the Board

Mark Balkwill
President, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Hello Peterborough, my name is Mark Balkwill and I’m very pleased to be the new chair of the Peterborough Agricultural Society. I currently live in Buckhorn with my wife Tracy, my children Ben and Rachel also live close to us here and our lives revolve around them and the greater Peterborough community. I bring a strong background in ag as a dairy farmer and farm organization leader. My early years in 4H and Jr farmer set the stage for my years as chair of a number of local and Ontario wide organization and I hope I can us this experience to help this ag society to have a critical place in the future. I truly am looking forward to working with this young and growing group of directors and volunteers to find a new path to show case agricultural and create new experience for our city consumers to explore. I invite you to reach out to us also and share your thoughts past and future of where we fit in this community. In closing I’d like to say if you ate today thank a farmer if you are a farmer thank you Regards Mark.

Shannon Cameron
Vice President, Peterborough Agricultural Society

With her passion for agriculture she felt volunteering and being on the
Board of Directors team for the Peterborough Ag Society would be a great
way give back to the community. Shannon enjoys being on a team and being able to help contribute to current ideas and projects as well as add input to new ideas for the community. She enjoys learning
and trying new things and the sense of self satisfaction that volunteering brings. “It’s a great feeling!”

Alisha Bauer
2nd Vice President, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Alisha grew up on a small family farm in Durham region where her love of
agriculture flourished. Her passion for agriculture and animals lead her
to a career as a veterinary technician. Alisha began raising rabbits in
2001 and later on sparked an interest in showing rabbits. She has
directed the rabbit and cavy show with the Peterborough Agricultural
Society since 2015. Alisha moved to Peterborough county in 2016 with her
husband to raise their family surrounded by an amazing agricultural
community. Alisha joined the board of directors in 2017 to share her
passion for agriculture and education with the community.

Victoria McEldon
Executive Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Victoria McEldon, lives on a small hobby farm in Millbrook.

She has been volunteer on the board since being the 2012 Senior
Ambassador. She strongly believes in sharing her knowledge to promote the agricultural industry as it has made a huge impact on her life. She has a special interest in animal husbandry and medicine and it was influenced greatly by her experiences in 4-H and her exposure to the agricultural industry in general. These experiences lead her to a career as a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Rita Oates
Executive Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Rita has been in or involved in the Peterborough agricultural community all her life. From growing up on a small horticultural operation, to graduating from the Sustainable Agriculture program with a BSc at Trent, she has been working with plants for the better portion of her life. As young as 5 years old Rita had been helping on the farm and going to Farmers’ Markets as a vendor, she grew her interest for agriculture. She has worked on her home farm, various other farms in the area, and has recently been at Sylvite Agri-Services for the past 2 years, helping farmers of all types in the local area. She has sat on the By-The-Bushel board in the past, and was involved with the Sustainable Agriculture Society when enrolled at Trent.
In her spare time, she enjoys her involvement with the Peterborough Agricultural Society Board, attending markets as a spectator, assisting others with their vegetable, and flower gardens, and enjoying walks with her dog. Rita enjoys learning, is always excited to learn something new, and share all the knowledge she has to offer on plants and agricultural operations.

Sandra Busby
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

The first time Sandra entered in the Peterborough Exhibition Homecraft was in 1989. Her love of needle crafts and baking comes from my mother, grandmother and the 4H Club (Homecraft). Sandra joined the Homecraft Committee in 2010 and a couple of years later joined the Peterborough Agricultural Society Board. Currently Sandra is Co-President of the Homecraft Committee. She encourages people of all ages to show their crafts or baking in the Homecraft Division. Admittedly, Sandra never did bake the best loaf of whole wheat bread in Ontario, but she did get to the provincial competition a couple of times.

Kathy Clodd
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Kathy has been with the Peterborough Exhibition for 15 years as part of the Home Craft Committee. She has enjoyed her time on the main board for that time as well as a Home Craft representative and as the President of the Home Craft Committee many times over the years. Kathy was born and raised in Milton, Ontario where she attended public school and high school and graduated from theUniversity of Windsor. Kathy then moved to the Peterborough area in 1989 and has called Peterborough home since then.

It has been interesting to see the changes to the Peterborough Exhibition over the years but especially since the onset of the covid Pandemic. She hopes we will come out of this a stronger community event in Peterborough. Kathy looks forward to how the virtual exhibition will turn out with exhibitors submitting photos of their exhibits instead of displaying the exhibits in person.

Kathy takes great pride in her family history with the Ontario Fairs and Exhibitions and the agricultural industry. Her great great grandfather was the first Minister of Agriculture for Ontario (The Honourable John Dryden). His son John Dryden was the first president of the Royal Winter Fair in 1922 and she believes he was a president of Brooklin Fair in the 1920’s as well. My grandfather Gray was a dairy farmer in the 1950’s and his son was a farmer in Sask for over forty years. Her dad followed a different path and worked in industry for many years. He was also a restorer of antique cars, especially Cadillac’s and had an extensive collection of antique woodworking tools. Her Mom was a teacher in Milton for over thirty years.

Laura Robson
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Chloe Shaw
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Lorianne Lauchlan
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Rachel Balkwill
Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

After a 7 year venture in the marketing and graphic design industry,
Rachel officially moved up to the Peterborough area in 2019.  Having
come from agriculture roots with a dairy farming background she decided
to go back to school and pursue a graduate certificate in Sustainable
Agriculture at Fleming. Upon graduating she started up a vegetable
market garden operation in 2021 with the help of her family where they
grown and sell local produce at their seasonal farm stand in Buckhorn.
Rachel works year round with a local Ag business focused on providing
agriculture inputs to farmers in the area. As a newer member of the
board she is excited to share her deep rooted passion for agriculture
and see how the society continues to develop and grow together and
within the community.

Abigail Shaw
Junior Director, Peterborough Agricultural Society

Louise Dobbin
General Manager, Peterborough Agricultural Society


As a non-profit organization, individuals from the community can join our organization as a voting member. Becoming a member not only gives you the ability to vote on policy matters at our AGM but it also demonstrates support of agriculture in our community. To request to join please complete the form below: