LONDON —A forefather of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, a founder of the Denfield Livestock Exchange and two strawberry growers are the newest inductees of the Middlesex Agricultural Hall Of Fame.
The five individuals (including two married couples) will be inducted during the London Farm Show on March 6. With the newest inductees, there will be 60 members of the hall of fame. For tickets to the hall of fame luncheon, call Hugh Fletcher at 519-666-1572.
This year’s inductees are:
Founding member of the Royal
Colonel Robert McEwen
A horse, sheep and beef breeder who was successful at shows across the globe, one of McEwen’s greatest legacies is helping start the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, which is now the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian event. McEwen served on the Royal board of directors from 1922 to 1935, was a director of the Western Fair from 1912 to 1936 and helped found the Canadian Co-Operative Wool Growers. On his home farm, McEwen developed and exhibited his purebred Southdown sheep flock and a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle. In 1961, McEwen was one of the initial inductees of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Strawberry growers started small
Willibrordus (1933-2017) & Suzanne Heeman (1936-)
The couple, who married in Holland, immigrated to Canada in 1958. In 1963, the couple bought a 25-acre farm east of London that came with a cow and a half-acre patch of strawberries. They quickly expanded, and by 1972, Bill invented a system that allowed 20 employees at a time to lie on their stomachs to pick berries. The farm now has the second and third generations running the 70-plus acres of berries, plus 120,000 sq. ft. of greenhouses.
Founder of Denfield Livestock Exchange
Jack (1928-2002) & Bea (1935-2010) Phillips
The Phillips are to be inducted for their impact on the livestock industry in Middlesex County. In 1958, Jack, his father William, and three other livestock dealers opened the Denfield Sales Barn, which has now been serving the community for 60 years. The sales barn offers cattle, stockers, cows, bulls, veal, drop calves, sheep and goats, and has sold donkeys, ponies and even alpacas on occasion.