October 11, 2017 5:44 pm

Councillor makes push to bring plowing competition to London

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne takes part in the 101st Annual International Plowing Match in Thornton, Ont., on Tuesday, September, 16 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette


An east London councillor has planted a seed, you might say.

Ward 2 Councillor Bill Armstrong has asked his council colleagues to authorize a bid for London to host the 2020 International Plowing Match.

After hosting the Canadian Country Music Association Awards and World Figure Skating Championships in recent years, this event would be a return to London’s roots — literally.

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The annual festival, hosted by the Ontario Plowmen’s Association and typically held in a rural area around southern Ontario, brings thousands of farmers, agricultural industry members, observers, and myriad politicians each year for activities sure to puzzle city slickers.

Last month, the town of Walton, in Huron County, played host to the crowd that counted the prime minister of Canada and premier of Ontario among it.

The size of the event, as well as its track record of putting the spotlight on the importance of agribusiness in the Canadian economy, make it a positive for London, Armstrong said.

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“This is the largest outdoor agriculture event held in North America, which is intended to promote agricultural products, as well as to advance the interest in agriculture,” Armstrong said in a letter to the members of council’s Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee. “There are a number of economic benefits to the host community, and surrounding communities, resulting from hosting the match.”

With nearly 40,000 acres of farmland within London’s boundaries, Armstrong said it’s a natural fit.

His proposal would require the city to pony up $100,000 with the bid, as well as report on “how the organizing of the event would be carried out.”

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