Promoting agriculture and the rural lifestyle.
Tillsonburg’s Fair began in 1854.
The Department of Agriculture recognized the Dereham fair in 1854 with 70 members. In 1863 George Tillson gave the Tillsonburg and Dereham Fair 4 acres of land around Ridout St. North of Ridout and West of Bidwell. In 1864 a two story building was built on Ridout St where the chiropractors office is.
In 1875 the fair was moved to its present site on 12 acres, with a two story Crystal Palace, with three wings which are still being used today. Mr. Climie, who owned a grocery store on Broadway in 1928, was also chairman of the Parks Commission in 1944. At that time, the park was being named Tillsonburg Memorial Park. Previously it had been known as Lake Lisgar Park, Tillsonburg Park, Tillsonburg Fairground Park, and the Dixie Tribe Memorial Park and VanNorman Park. There is a plaque that was presented in honour of J. M. Climie by the Ontario Department of Agriculture in recognition of one hundred years of service this 29th day of August, 1961. Location: 46 Sanders St. (at the park entrance)
Of course back in the mid 1800s the society was known as the Dereham Agricultural Society and, in1867, the society’s grounds were located between Bidwell and Rolph Street in the Ridout St. West area (approximately John’s Coon Alley area). The exhibition grounds we know today were not established until the late 1870s; the land of course was provided by the Tillsons.
In 1961 the name was changed to Tri County Agriculture Society.
In 1961 the fair received a $1000.00 grant from the government as it has passed its 100 years and the money was used to build the stone gates.
In 1962 the cattle barn was built. 1965 the Grand Stand was built and in 1967 the roof was put on the grandstand. In 1969 wood bleachers and aluminium ones were built. In 1980 the Food booth was built.
1984 Transfer of land from the Fair to the Town of Tillsonburg. This property included parking lot, property that the poultry barn, grandstand, general office, and cattle barn, the palace and food booth is on. It was determined that the fair would still use the buildings but that the town would provide insurance coverage for these buildings.
2004 Money was received from the Trillium Foundation to do upgrades on several buildings.
2014 The Grandstand was tore down.