Farming in Canada
A History of the Douglas Family
in Canada, Middlesex County, Ontario
This webpage is a photo-documentary project exploring (1) agricultural life in the region of Southern Ontario, Canada, and (2) Douglas family history in Upper Canada (i.e., Ontario) from 1840 to present-day. Because the Douglas family has been a part of the pioneer history of Canada, this page offers a vignette of the evolution from land-clearing to established farming operations between approximately 1920 – 1950. The larger significance of this timeframe emerges from the historic events that took place during those decades, namely post-World War 1 (1914 – 1918); the aftermath of one of the worst pandemics in history, the Spanish Flu, that killed upwards of 50 million people worldwide (1918 – 1920); the Great Depression, the worst global financial crisis in history, which lasted a decade (1929 – 1940); World War 2 (1939 – 1945); and the post-war economic boom. Swept up in the wild winds of history are family narratives: stories of weathering storms, of overcoming hardships, of celebrating victories, even of participating in the necessaries of life—in this case, agricultural life.
Many of the current images posted here are found photos; the negatives were discovered in an envelope while renovating the family farmhouse, built in 1914, in Metcalfe Township. They were converted from the physical negatives to digital format using a light plate and a smartphone camera. Some of the negatives were damaged, so repairs where required using Photoshop.
Feel free to comment on images using the "comments" box if you have details, stories, or feedback to offer regarding the people, places, dates, and significant events depicted. The goal of this project is to gather narratives and compile stories that flesh out the history of farming in the region. More pictures will be added over time.
- Dr. Jeffrey Douglas, Professor of English and Communications
Fanshawe College, London, Ontario
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