OTTAWA – Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario used its recent summer picnic as the launch pad for its latest tractor model to be sold at the 2020 Ottawa Valley Farm Show, the club’s annual kickoff event.

With some fanfare, past president Barry Dean revealed the chosen mini is the Minneapolis Moline Model U. That prompted a shout of “Finally!” from VITEO past president Henry Staal, an avid collector of the brand based in North Russell.

For the past several years, VITEO has sold up to 125 copies of various tractor models at $100 each, with Number One in the series entered into the annual farm show auction for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Remaining proceeds are used to finance club activities. Last year, a successful toy auction was added to the mix, with a large portion of those proceeds going to charity.

Minneapolis Moline Model U
VITEO secretary Sharen Armstrong shows off latest tractor model to be sold at the 2020 Ottawa Valley Farm Show. Van Dusen photo

Not-for-profit VITEO has as a mission working toward protection, preservation, restoration and promotion of customs and artifacts related to early rural life in Eastern Ontario. It fulfils its mandate partly through several annual events and visits to collections across the region.

About 60 of the 250 VITEO members pulled up their lawn chairs in a shady spot at Valleyview Little Animal Farm in Ottawa’s rural west end for the latest picnic. They felt right at home with horses beyond the page wire fence and weathered barns and sheds close by.

Picnic tables were weighed down with a lunch spread to rival any other: Burgers and hot dogs, salads, devilled eggs and several desserts that had guests coming back for more.

Valleyview specializes in providing city kids a taste of farm life with a wide variety of livestock, mini train rides, puppet shows, play area, birthday party room and Old Farm Museum. Prior to the stop at Valleyview, several members visited the John Deere machinery collection at Kenny Farms, Stittsville.

Next up for VITEO members is the 40th annual Farmersville Exhibition at Athens north of Brockville, this year featuring “Massey anything’’, July 19-21. Dean asked for good representation at the event in honour of mega collector and philanthropist George Tackaberry, main instigator of Farmersville.

That’s followed by participation from several members in the Navan, Merrickville, Williamstown, Stormont County, Russell and Spencerville fairs, the Guinness Book of World Records Threshing Mill Challenge in St. Albert Aug. 10-11, the Athens Truck Show Aug. 16-17, the Hastings County Plowing Match Aug. 21-22, the Ottawa-Carleton Plowing Match Aug. 23-24, and the Fall Tour Sept. 15 to review the collections of members Staal at Russell, Glen Edwards at Navan, and George Zanbelt at Winchester.

Dean said the number of social and informative activities helps explain the popularity of Vintage Iron: “We’re not a group that has one gathering and then a meeting where we sit around eating donuts.”