This page is a text version of the History of Portage la Praire and Surrounding District. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire

Previous - Page 246 or Next - Page 248

Events are varied and numerous: a pancake breakfast, Queen Parade, Parade of Lights, Fun Festival Parade, Teen Club Open House, Fashion Queen Contest, Indian Handicraft Display Contest, Snow Sculpture, Toboggan Rides, Hay Rides, Dances, Hockey, etc. The Canadian Forces Band has also been an appreciated part of the en tertainmen t.

I t is regrettable that time and space do not allow a detailed description of the three eventful days.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PORTAGE FAIR

The first Portage Fair was held on a site in the neighborhood of 18th Street West on October 16, 1872. It was an unqualified success. Portage had a population of 300; it had a stage coach service to Winnipeg and was beginning to feel its importance as a new centre of activity, in a Dominion of Canada only five years old.

Kenneth McKenzie to whom the community is indebted for much of its early enterprise, was President. Chas. Mair, later known for his literary talents, was secretary.

There was never any doubt about the survival of the Portage Show. From the beginning it reflected the determination of its pioneers, who, before long were operating a provincial exhibition known as the Marquette Agricultural Society. The pioneer Winnipeg newspaper, "The Manitoban", predecessor of the Winnipeg Free Press, commented - "There were 400 entries at a fair that far surpassed expectations, although it is the first year in the country for many settlers, the results are such as would reflect credit upon an older Ontario county." Editorial comment on the first Portage show included the following - "We congratulate the people of Marquette County on the success of their efforts, and trust that this fair may be the first in a long line of such. Our only regret is that the hesitating and skeptical of other areas were not there to see."

Portage la Prairie had two advantages from the beginning. The soil was good and the men and women who settled it had imagination.

The first Manitoba fair mirrored the personalities of such leaders as its presiden t, Kenneth McKenzie, pioneer agricul turists and stock men - John McLean, Hugh Grant, Frances Ogletree, the Garriochs, Walter Lynch, Andrew Spence, Donald Stewart and John Smith. The fair might well have been called McKenzie Fair, because Kenneth McKenzie, conscientious president that he was, had an entry in almost

227