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The Mayor's Proclamation of Scarboro Fare Fair 1994

What is a Fair?

The nature and purposes of community fairs have evolved over time in response to changes in socio-economic values -- from the weekly markets of the seventeenth century to the agricultural exhibitions of the nineteenth to the consumer goods shows of today. I feel that community fairs may be advantageously adapted to promote socio-economic well-being across a diverse spectrum of human endeavour.

Local fairs were developed centuries ago to bring the public and suppliers together. In this financially strained and culturally diverse era, suppliers or "providers" can be anyone from a novelty retailer to a social service to a non-profit ethnic heritage group.

By their very nature, "fairs" are bonafide "community ventures", bringing a broad cross-section of the local population together for social, cultural, educational and economic purposes.

Did You Ever Go To Scarborough Fair?

Several stories regarding Scarborough Fairs of yesteryear were published in Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play, available from the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society. If you have a story to tell about Scarborough's old agricultural fairs, please contact us.  Photographs of Scarborough Fair would also be appreciated.

Unfortunately, due to economic conditions, Scarborough Fair ceased as an annual event in 1936.

The Scarboro Heights Record, The James McCowan Memorial Social History Society and Like Magic Productions are combining their energies to "reinstitute" Scarborough Fair this November.

What is Scarboro Fare Fair 1994?

Just like "in the olden days", Scarboro Fare Fair 1994 has been set up as a "community venture". And, just like the old days, the 1994 Fair will be all about food.

At Scarboro Fare Fair 1994 we will:

  • explore our past and present values with respect to the nutritional needs and expectations of the Scarborough family and
  • develop a vision for the future.

Timeliness and Significance
Developing a Unique City Identity

1994 is the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of both the founding of the Scarborough Agricultural Society and the first Scarborough Fair, a vehicle for promoting the mid nineteenth century food industry. Production of food is a fundamental element of our economy and essential in meeting the most basic of human needs.

1994 is also the International Year of the Family. The family is a crucial component of society: the most fundamental of our social institutions where ideas are fostered and exchanged, where care is provided and where our other basic needs are met. Just as the family is a bonafide, albeit small, socio-economic institution, so the family can be considered to be a small community -- people working and playing together. And the collective values of the community define its culture.

In this era of strained personal, corporate and public budgets, providing for the most basic of our needs will be a challenge. Scarboro Fare Fair 1994 will bring social services, families, growers, government bodies and other interested parties together.

Many communities all across Canada have developed unique identities that are often largely based on their street festivals and fairs. At a time when the media unfortunately tends to identify the City of Scarborough with crime, a Scarborough Fair on the theme of family nutrition in the context of the community and its culture will project a more positive image. Scarborough could ultimately become known more for the unique themes of the City's annual Fairs than for (misunderstood and poorly represented) crime statistics.

Possible Longterm Proposals, Benefits and
Educational Value

Scarboro Fare Fair 1994 will be a success. What if the Fair could become an annual event -- building community spirit and creating that positive Scarborough identity which is perceived today (primarily by the media) to be missing? Scarborough's tourism industry (and "spin-off" economic development) could thus receive a significant boost.

But Scarborough's fair should not just be another typical southern Ontario fair. Scarborough's fair should be unique -- so unique that the City becomes "identified" with these widely visible and highly celebrated -- and different -- annual events.

Just as the 1994 Fair deals with the nutritional needs and expectations of the family, future Scarborough fairs should be dedicated to important social, economic, cultural, educational or environmental "themes". Many issues today such as housing, public health and jobs need our urgent attention.

Just think -- these annual community theme-fairs could, to some degree at least, replace expensive taxpayer-funded "Studies" and "Commissions". Students could even hold their own "Commission" just by attending the Fair and engaging in the learning process.

With the right blend of experience, rational thinking and vision, Scarborough's Fair could become a major and self-sufficient employer -- and a major community builder.

From The Scarboro Heights Record V2 #4

Sorry You Missed It!
Scarboro Fare Fair 1994

November 1994

"On Saturday November 12 1994 at St. Andrew's Church hall, the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society held a gala night. An excellent dinner was followed by so much information about our food, the environment and how to improve life here on the planet. The uniqueness of the presentation led to a competition of 42 questions. Everyone participated with enthusiasm and prizes were awarded to many for the correct answers. Included in the prizes was a gas barbecue "won by yours truly".

"Competition over, we settled down to enjoy a lively musical / drama production about the first-ever "Scarboro Fair" performed by Like Magic Productions. Costumes and songs took us way back in time.

"It was a great night and if you missed it, watch out for the next event. My wife and I had a super evening and made lots of new friends."

John Caldwell,

From The Scarboro Heights Record V2 #6

Nov. 12, 1994

"We very much enjoyed the evening of November 12 as we reminisced about the history of Scarborough. The lovely dinner at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church was followed by Like Magic Productions' stage presentation of the early life experiences of Scarborough's settlers. There was another good learning experience as we searched for the answers to quizes about farming, food and nutrition -- many of us won interesting prizes. This was brought together by the James McCowan Memorial Social History Society."

Len and Connie Cullen

From The Scarboro Heights Record V3 #1