Regional shows seem to have been an Ontario innovation with one exception which will be noted in the proper sequence. These shows grew out of the field day program when the local ranchers wanted something more competitive but still restricted to their general area. The first regional show was held in Fort William on November 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1939. The show was held on the grounds of the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition in the only fur-bearing animal pavilion in Canada. The show was thrown open to the public from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day and hundreds of residents of Fort William and Port Arthur visited their first and highly successful fur exhibition. Norman W. Shields was show manager and he was ably assisted by Dan McAvay, Bob Beattie, Dave Schoales, Hans Viola and other members of the Committee. There were over 200 mink exhibited in the eight classes and the judging was done by George H. Mayers. Innovation in the judging was the grading of all the mink into A, B and C categories before the final placing of the mink in A category for the prizes. This enabled all ranchers to get a fair idea of how the mink they showed compared with the top animals in their classes.
The show was sponsored by the North-Western Ontario Fur Breeders and Trappers Association and the prize winners were as follows:
Western Adult Male - 1, 2, Moss Fur Farm; 3, 6, Imperial Furs; 4, 5, 7, Northern Lake Superior Fur Farm; 9, Hans Viola.
Western Adult Female - 1, 2, Imperial Furs; 3, 4, Moss Fur Farm;
5, Thunder Bay Fox Farm; 6, 7, Northern Lake Superior Fur Farm.
Western Kit Male - 1, 2, Moss Fur Farm; 3, 4, Imperial Furs; 5, Hans Viola; 6, 7, Thunder Bay Fox Farm.
Western Kit Female - 1, 2, Moss Fur Farm; 3, 4, Imperial Furs; 5, 6, 7, 8, Northern Lake Superior Fur Farm.
Eastern Adult Male - 1, 2, 3, 5, Moss Fur Farm; 4, Dog Lake Fur Farm; 6, A. E. Swaim; 7, Hans Viola; 8, Imperial Furs.
Eastern Adult Female - 1, 2, 3, Moss Fur Farm; 4, 8, Hans Viola; 5, Imperial Furs; 6, Northern Lake Superior Fur Farm; 7, Dog Lake Fur Farm.
Eastern Kit Male - 1, 4, A. E. Swaim; 2, Lakehead Fur Farm; 3, 5, Moss Fur Farm; 6, 7, 8, Dog Lake Fur Farm.
Eastern Kit Female - 1, 6, A. E. Swaim; 2, 3, 7, Moss Fur Farm; 4, Hans Viola; 5, Imperial Furs.
Championships-Eastern Kit, A. E. Swaim; Western Kit, Eastern
Adult, Western Adult, Grand Champion,
Reserve Champion, all to Moss Fur Farm.
The next year the Fort William group held another show and we quote in part from the December 1940 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox & Fur:
"Despite a violent snowstorm which raged just previous to the North-western Ontario Fur Breeders' and Trappers Association show, the scheduled event was successfully conducted at Fort William on November 12th, 13th and 14th.
"The weather which tied up traffic was responsible for many prospective exhibits not reaching the show, which consisted of approximately one hundred mink.
"The awards were placed by George Soudack of the Soudack Fur Auction Sales Limited, Winnipeg, assisted by Mr George Harris of the Hudson's Bay Company."
Mr. Dave Schoales was Secretary of the show and Bob Paoli was show manager. They were assisted by a committee of T. A. Alexson, John Iwasenko, Dan McAvay, F. McGeagh, Capt. N. W. Shields, D. W. Herbst, Robert Beattie, Hans Viola, and Barry Robillard. "The exhibitors whose animals attained the honoured circle of 'Champion' are:
Mink, grand champion of the show, Moss Fur Farms on a Yukon type male.
Reserve, Moss Fur Farms on an eastern kit male.
Adult, Western (Yukon) Moss Fur Farms.
Adult Eastern, Moss Fur Farms. Kit, (Yukon) Western, Mrs Edith Beckman. Eastern, Moss Fur Farms.
"The mink classes provided keen competition and the judges had to make close decisions in many cases. Ribbons were awarded for the first nine positions in each of the four sections of each of the two classes of mink.
"The regular awards were:
Yukon-type: Adult Male - 1, 2, Moss Fur Farms; 3, A. E. Swaim.
Female - 1, 2, Mrs. Beckman; 3, A. E. Swaim;
Kit Male - 1, 3, Swaim; 2, Moss Fur Farms.
Female - 1, 2, 3, Mrs. Beckman.
Eastern: Adult Male - 1, 2, Moss Fur Farms; 3, D. McAvay. Female - 1, Mrs. Beckman; 2, Moss Fur Farms; 3, T. A. Alexson.
Kit Male - 1, Moss Fur Farms; 2, Swaim; 3, Mrs. Beckman. Female - 1, 2, Mrs. Beckman; 3, Thos. Kieri."
The only regional show outside of Ontario that we can find recorded up to this time was the one held in St. Vital, Manitoba. The November 1940 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox & Fur says the following.
"St. Vital Mink Breeders' Association, St. Vital, Manitoba, recently organized to promote the interests of the mink breeders of this Winnipeg suburb, staged a successful local mink show at the ranch of Mr. and Mrs. W. Pozer, Saturday, November 2nd. The entries numbering approximately ninety mink were judged by Messrs. Geo. Soudack and L. Laure. The show committee has every reason to be satisfied with this, its first effort to stage a local show in St. Vital. The Show was well patronized and the mink breeders of St. Vital are determined that it shall become an annual affair. The members of the committee were: H. G. Smallman, chairman; D. J. Kilgour, secretary; John Beckett, E. S. Hough, Mrs W. Pozer, K. W. Butterfield, H. Pilling, H. S. Graham and W. Jenner.
"It is understood that the St. Vital Mink Breeders' Association will affiliate itself with the provincial body, Manitoba Fur Breeders' Association and that it considers itself a local of that body.
Adult Males - 1, E. S. Hough; 2, Oakwood Fur Farm; 3, Graham Fur Farm; 4, Wyness Fur Ranch; K. W. Butterfield.
Adult Females - 1, E. S. Hough; 2, Oakwood Fur Farm; 3, S. Stupak; 4, Graham Fur Farm; 5, C. W. Sandhoff.
Kit Males - 1, M. Derew; 2, Vista Fur Farm; 3, Oakwood Fur Farm; 4, Graham Fur Farm; 5, E. S. Hough.
Kit Females - 1, M. Derew; 2, Graham Fur Farm; 3, Oakwood Fur Farm; 4, E. S. Hough; John Proctor.
Best Mink in Show: Adult Male - E. S. Hough."
The write up on the Smith Falls, Ontario show refers to the previous year as a comparison. This is only true from the fox standpoint. There were no mink competitions until this particular show. We quote from the November 1940 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox and Fur.
"Exhibitors came from as far as old Chelsea, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario to Smith Falls, on November 1st and 2nd, to make the show a grand success. Thirty-six mink exhibitors had two hundred and two animals entered while eleven fox breeders exhibited seventy-nine. Figures show a substantial increase over last year, and all parties agreed that the quality of the entries showed real improvement. Because many of the mink were not prime, several promising individuals, according to the judges, received placings lower than they would have, had they been further on.
"The mink were graded and judged by W. P. Ewen and Dr E. R. Bowness. Well over 1,000 people visited the show which was a fine tribute to Stan J. Daly for his promotion and work as show manager. The prize winners were as follows:
Adult Male - 1, Mrs J. F. McCormick; 2, Simpson Fur Farms; 3, S. J. Daly & Son; 4, 5, Keith Paul; 6, John McKinnon.
Kit Male - 1, Calvin Sturgess; 2, 3, Simpson Fur Farm; 4, F. H. Ralph; 5, Mr Rutherford; 6, S. J. Daly & Son.
Adult Female - 1, John Wills; 2, Simpson Fur Farm; 3, S. J. Daly & Son; 4, Paul; 5, Mrs J. F. McCormick; 6, Dr C. W. Henders.
Kit Female - 1, Simpson Fur Farm; 2, Mrs J. F. McCormick; 3, 4, Paul; 5, Sturgess; 6, S. J. Daly & Son.
The first prize adult male was judged the champion of the show with the first young male reserve.
The Owen Sound Show was held on November 5th, 1940, with an entry of ninety-two mink. George H. Mayers was the judge and gave the following awards.
Eastern Mink Adult Male - 1, J. McCague; 2, C. A. Bisbee; 3, R. Griffith; 4, A. Juergens.
Eastern Mink Adult Female - 1, Bisbee; 2, R. Griffith; 3, H. Noble; 4, Juergens.
Eastern Kit Male-1, Bisbee; 2, 4, H. Morren; 3, N. Yack.
Eastern Kit Female - 1, Bisbee; 2, 4, Morren; 3, Griffith.
Yukon Adult Male - 1, 3, P. Noble; 2, H. Noble; 4, W. Matheson.
Yukon Adult Female - 1, Bisbee; 4, H. Noble.
Yukon Kit Male - 1, H. Morren; 2, 3, P. Noble; 4, C. Clugston.
Yukon Kit Female - 1, Morren; 2, Bisbee.
The St. Mary's Show on November 9th, attracted thirty-six exhibitors who brought one hundred and fourteen mink for Judge Mayers to judge. An amateur mink judging contest sponsored by Lampson, Fraser & Huth Inc., was won by a lady, Miss H. O. Merton, over a group of experienced mink men who thought they knew what they were doing.
The awards were as follows:
Eastern Adult Male (18 entries) - 1, D. Lamond; 2, Owen Yemm; 3, M. Samarelli; 4, Dr. Bowness (Leitchcroft Farm).
Eastern Adult Female (12) - 1, Lamond; 2, Samarelli; 3, Dr. Bowness; 4, Gard Elliott.
Eastern Kit Male (37) - 1, Dr. Bowness; 2, C. A. Smith; 3, Samarelli; 4, H. Morren.
Eastern Kit Female (28) - 1, 4, Morren; 2, H. C. Brown; 3, W. Braithwaite.
Yukon Adult Male (4) - 1, Samarelli, 2, 3, C. Martin.
Yukon Adult Female (3) - 1, R. A. Boothby; 2, Samarelli; 3, Brown.
Yukon Kit Male (7) - 1, Morren; 2, Samarelli; 3, 4, Martin.
Yukon Kit Female (5) - 1, C. Ashwell; 2, Brown; 3, Samarelli; 4, H. J. Preuter.
Winners of the amateur judging: 1, Miss H. O. Merton; 2, E. V. Bettridge; 3, D. R. Stevens; 4, Gordon Elliott.
Moosomin, Saskatchewan, had field days in 1938, 1939, and 1940. The first was judged by M. B. Pirt and the last two by George H. Mayers. In 1939, it was reported that twelve field days were held in Saskatchewan. Lestock had field days in 1939 and 1940, both judged by George H. Mayers.
The Manitoba field days were very popular and held at several points each year. At the start, they tended to be a day of lectures rather than mink grading and judging demonstrations. The first field day we could find reported, though obviously others preceded it, was fully dealt with by O. K. Thomassen in the October 1936, issue of the Canadian Silver Fox & Fur.
"A Field Day hastily arranged by the Manitoba Fur Breeders' Association for Friday, October 2nd, 1936, the opening day of Manitoba's new Experimental Station, turned out a real success. The committee, under the chairmanship of Mr Morley B. Pirt, must be given credit for the excellent arrangements and the attendance it was able to muster, more than seventy-five breeders being present.
"Shortly before ten o'clock in the morning, breeders began flocking to Manitoba's new experimental station, located at the Manitoba University and Agricultural College. They were welcomed by Dr J. A. Allen and his assistant Mr Kirk (later Dr R. J. Kirk) and shown through the station and the experimental ranch. The breeders exhibiting considerable interest in the modern equipment of the laboratory and the ranch.
"Later the breeders assembled in one of the many lecture halls of the university, where the chairman Dr J. A. Allen introduced the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Mr Allan, who in the absence of the Minister, the Hon. J. S. McDiarmid welcomed the breeders to the meeting."
The speakers that day were Dean Alfred Savage, Professor J. M. Brown, Dr J. A. Allen and at the luncheon tendered by the Department of Natural Resources, they were addressed by the Hon. J. S. McDiarmid. Following the luncheon, a tour of local ranches was made. We found this description to be interesting:
"After the visit to J. R. Young's ranch the next port of call was the mink ranch of Dr E. J. Washington, where the visitors evinced special interest in the Doctor's large runs for mink. Each of these runs are one hundred feet by forty feet, surrounded by a five and a half foot guard fence, and in each, there are one hundred mink; males and females are kept separately. It was quite an experience to see these mink, raised under conditions very similar to their natural environment, apparently unafraid of the visitors, some mink coming right up to one's feet. Dr Washington and his caretaker-partner, Mr Nilson (Sture Nielson), have eight hundred and fifty mink in all and expect to carry four hundred females during the coming breeding season."
There was quite a social atmosphere to these field days especially in Western Canada. This contributed greatly to their popularity and resulting in good attendance. The final paragraph on this Manitoba field day is illuminating:
"To climax a very pleasant afternoon, Mr. (Morley B.) Pirt served an excellent luncheon 'a la mode' foaming steins of beer with accompanying hot dogs, liverwurst, summer sausage and whatnot. And thus ended a perfect day."
A year later in the October 1937 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox and Fur, O. K. Thomassen has a two-page report on the Rossburn, Manitoba field day. The convener was Stanley J. Weatherby and the speakers were A. G. Cunningham, C. D. Lang, Dr J. A. Allen, C. B. McKay, J. A. Couture, M. B. Pirt, Al Hole, Bert Elliott and J. G. Donald. It was well attended and appreciated. Thomassen reports "Considerable discussion developed after each address and many questions were asked the various speakers."
In 1938, Hamiota held its first field day "under ideal weather conditions, approximately seventy-five fur farmers from southwestern, central, northwestern Manitoba and Winnipeg gathered at Hamiota, Friday, September 23rd, to discuss the problems and get acquainted with one another. The field day was arranged by Mr Marvin Wood, fox and mink farmer of Hamiota. The program got underway shortly after lunch when Mr A. G. Cunningham director of Game & Fisheries opened the meeting. In his remarks, Mr Cunningham stressed the value of field days and also referred to the good work carried on by the Manitoba Fur Breeders. He suggested that fur farmers in the Hamiota district form a local association to handle local problems and to further the interests of the local breeders.
Other speakers were W. O. Douglas, C. D. Lang, S. Klintberg, A. Hole, R. D. Laing, Marvin Wood, E. L. Clark and O. K. Thomassen. Messrs. Laing and Thomassen spoke on the newly formed Dominion Council of Canadian Fur Breeders while Messrs. Klintberg, Hole and Lang spoke on fox and mink problems. Later several ranches in the district were visited. During dinner, which was served at the local hotel, Mr Marvin Wood thanked the breeders who by their attendance had assisted in making the field day a success. He hoped he said that a strong local association would be formed before long and that the field day next year would be held under the auspices of the Hamiota District Fur Breeders' Association."
There is a detailed and interesting report on Western Field days in the November 1940 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox & Fur which we quote in considerable detail:
"Apparently fur breeders across Canada have come to a realization of their opportunities and are going about the improvement of conditions for themselves, in a lively and vigorous manner. This statement is borne out by the increase in events of various kinds staged by fur breeders from the Atlantic to the Pacific this year. Every province, we take it, shows an increase in fur breeders gatherings. Attendances are greater, interest is keen and that valuable trait, inquisitiveness, in evidence.
"Starting in British Columbia, George H. Mayers of Lampson, Fraser & Huth, New York, has swung from one field day to another right across the western provinces. He has actively participated in making these days successful and has taken time during his heavy schedule to send us interesting comments from which we glean the following:
"Seven successful field days and educational conferences were conducted in the Pacific coast province. The first was at Saanichton, Vancouver Island and was held at the exhibition grounds, Monday, September 30th. For the most part, those in attendance were interested in minks and so attention centred on these. This was followed by another successful day on October 1st at Nanaimo. On October 2nd a large number of ranchers gathered at New Westminster to view a display of white-faced foxes and minks. Chilliwack was the next spot, the date was October 3rd and silver foxes and minks were featured here.
"The day at C. W. Albrecht's ranch, Lower Nicola on October 4th, drew attendance from all sections in the vicinity and here, too, both foxes and minks were on exhibition. Following these, fur breeders also gathered on October 5th, at Avis Bros.' ranch, Perry's Siding. On October 6th foxes and minks and some marten were brought to P. M. Wiltse's ranch at Creston, where a deal of interest was shown by those present.
"This made exactly seven field days in seven days in British Columbia.
"On October 8th an evening meeting was held at the Palliser Hotel, Calgary, under the auspices of the Alberta Silver Fox and Fur Breeders' Association, there was a large attendance and the meeting continued quite late, as considerable time was taken up by the discussions as to what was in store during the coming season. Whiteface and platinum foxes were also other items of lively interest.
"Calgary was followed by five more meetings in Alberta and field days at Edmonton, October 31st, and Calgary, November 1st and 2nd.
"The meeting at Edmonton, conducted by the Edmonton Fur Breeders' Association, had over ninety in attendance, an indication of enthusiasm and endeavour on the part of the ranchers to secure as much first-hand information as possible.
"A fur meeting was conducted at Cold Lake, Alberta, on October 16th, with some twenty-odd ranchers present, mostly mink breeders. Seventeen ranchers gathered at Lac La Biche on October 17th and while the attendance was small the meeting was a lively one.
"Wide Water on October 18th ran into some bad weather which cut down the attendance to eighteen. The meeting at Faust on October 19th was an evening gathering in the schoolhouse. Approximately thirty-five were in attendance, a good representation considering the number of mink and fox breeders in that district.
"At all these meetings, style books of some of the latest styles were displayed and these proved interesting to ranchers as they were able to obtain information as to just how their pelts are used.
"The Saskatchewan schedule called for the following: October 22nd, Saskatoon, at Forestry Farm, Sutherland; October 23rd, Duval, at Reid & MacGillivray Fox Ranch; October 24th, Lestock; October 25th, Watson; October 26th, Preeceville; October 28th, Moosomin, at Beach & Lough Fox Ranch; October 29th, Weyburn, at McKinnon Fox Ranch; October 30th, Moose Jaw; October 31st, Tompkins.
"On completion of his western trip, Mr Mayers came to Ontario to judge and otherwise assist at the show in this province.
"A follow-up letter from George H. Mayers informs us that he has attended the nine field days in Saskatchewan which were held under the supervision of Mr Walter Lefurgey, Government supervisor of fur farming in that province. Approximately 345 ranchers attended the various days and educational courses on minks and silver foxes. Mr Mayers was encouraged to see the improvement in the animals displayed during this, the third year, he has attended these fixtures.
"The following are Mr Mayers comments on the quality of the animals shown and the interest displayed:
"I must say that the stock exhibited, in a good many instances, was second to none, and the interest displayed by the ranchers was keen. There was a showing of photographs of the platinum fox, as well as a display of sketches of the latest designs in fur garments, which enabled the ranchers to obtain up-to-date information of just how their pelts are made up.
"As you are no doubt aware the selectivity inbreeding of the finer type animals have assisted considerably in keeping up the popularity of the finer garments."
The only recorded mink field days in the Maritimes up to 1940 occurred in New Brunswick. The December 1939 issue of the Canadian Silver Fox and Fur reported:
"A series of mink field days, the first of their kind to be held in the province of New Brunswick, have just been completed by Mr. George Mayers of Lampson, Fraser & Huth, New York, working in co-operation with the fieldman of the Department of Agriculture.
"These field days were held at Chatham on November 22nd, at Bathurst on November 23rd and Woodstock on November 24th. They were organized under the auspices of the fur farming clubs in these localities. At all three field days, a good attendance of mink and fox ranchers turned out with a very creditable showing of live animals and pelts.
" Mr Mayers lined up the animals, explaining desirable and undesirable points and he stressed particularly the importance of a good clear coloured blue underfur in both foxes and minks. He also explained to his various audiences the importance of selecting minks to have the colours blend from back to belly with a difference in shading but with no suggestion of a change in colour of the belly fur to a reddish coat.
"Later in his discussion Mr Mayers illustrated this by showing how furs are worked in the process of manufacture. His remarks proved most instructive to his audience and fortunately, the three field-days were located to be easily available to the breeders of between 80 per cent and 90 per cent of the minks ranched in New Brunswick.
"At Bathurst, the field day took the form of a show which was open to the Maritimes. Ribbons were 'awarded by the local club as well as a grand champion trophy.
Adult Males (13): 1, Lockhart Ronalds; 2, Northern Mink Ranch; 3, Mrs Wm. McKie; 4, James Brown; 5, Harper Kent.
Adult Females (11): 1, Harper Kent; 2, Hubert Payne; 3, John Foley; 4, Northern Mink Ranch; 5, Lee Cail.
Kit Males (17): 1, Hubert Payne; 2, Lockhart Ronalds; 3, Northern Mink Ranch; 4, John Foley; 5, Northern Mink Ranch.
Kit Females (18): 1, 2, Hubert Payne; 3, 4, James Brown; 5, Northern Mink Ranch.
Grand Champion: Hubert Payne. Reserve, Lockhart Ronalds.
Matched Pairs (10): 1, Harper Kent; 2, Hubert Payne; 3, James Brown; 4, Lockhart Ronalds; 5, Northern Mink Ranch.
Male Pelts (9): 1, 2, Hubert Payne; 3, 4, W. R. MacMillan; 5, Hubert Payne.
Female Pelts (10): 1, 2, 4, Hubert Payne; 3, Harper Kent; 5, W. R. MacMillan.