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  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

Some Extra Money In A Tough Time

The Great Depression is nearly 100 years removed from us, but many of the things that happened then, resonate now.

Things were expensive, money was tight, and savings were dwindling.

It was not an easy time for anyone, but occasionally there were bright moments for small communities like Vermilion.

Vermilion held various fairs throughout the 1930s to help people get their minds of The Great Depression. Some were successful, some were not.

These fairs were welcomed by people, not only because of the reprieve it gave them, but the opportunity to sell some goods, or buy something with what little money they had.

The group running those fairs was often the Vermilion Agricultural Society.

This society worked hard to ensure that needs were met for their members and while many places were short on money during The Great Depression, the society was not.

At its meeting in November of 1933, various matters were attended to. S.C. Heckbert was elected as the permanent secretary-treasurer of the organization. W.M. Steele was chosen to be the new president, while J.W.G. Morrison was vice-president.

Mayor Fallow and W. Telford became honorary vice-presidents, while the Honourable Robert Weir and the Honourable R.G. Reid, soon to be Alberta premier, were made honorary presidents.

When it came time to talk about the financials at that meeting, there was good news. It was announced that the organization had a surplus of $350.

This surplus came about thanks to the purchase of a merry-go-round that was a big money maker for the organization, and the erection of booths in connection with the midway at the fair that was held the past few years.

Now, $350 may not seem like a lot but for the society, it was proof they were well managed and would survive The Great Depression.

Today, that amounts to about $8,000.

So, no small amount.

Sharing Canadian history through social media, history columns and on my podcast is what I do for a living. Please consider supporting that by donating at

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