11 September 2014

Osgoode Harvest Festival and Crerar's Honey Centennial

The Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum newsletter includes publicity on their Harvest Festival on September 13 as well as an interesting article "Crerar's Honey Celebrates 100 Years." Here, with permission of the author Janet Crerar Corry, is the start of that article.

"The Crerar family immigrated to Canada in 1852 from Perth Scotland. Duff Gilbert Crerar, in 1914, set up his first hives of honeybees near Vernon in what was then known as Osgoode Township. While away serving in World War I, Duff's father Peter tended to the hives. Upon returning, Duff picked back up the beekeeping element of his mixed farming on the family land.

Bees were a fascinating insect to Duff so upon marrying Audrey Hughson in 1926 the young couple moved the current hives to their new matrimonial home and farm. While Duff kept sheep and bees he also rounded his income out as a tax assessor. Audrey and Duff formed the early foundation of what was to become Crerar's Honey Limited many years later. They had two sons Ian born in 1934 and Peter in 1937. Ian  in 1951 took over the honey business in its entirety upon the death of his father.

Duff had expanded in the 1940s the number of colonies and had made the principal income that of the beekeeping end of things. Winning several awards for his quality product he displayed and sold the honey at the Toronto CNE, Ottawa CCE, Royal Winter fair, and local fairs. Being named "Honey King of Canada" was a particularly distinguishing title

At age 55, dying of health related issues from his war service years; Duff's legacy became Ian's full-time job at the young age of 17. A family friend helped Ian to get started and from there the business boomed. In 1954 Ian married Bette Carscaden a farm girl from neighboring Russell. Together with their marketing skills, commitment to producing a quality product, and desire to work with the public turned Crerar's Honey into a full time – year round operation. Not only farm gate sales but also branching into the retail and wholesale markets in the city of Ottawa and surrounding villages. Ian too obtained the "Honey King of Canada" title in 1957 just as his father did before him."

Artefacts from the Crerar's collection will be on display at the Harvest Festival.

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