From the "Outdoor Adventure Canada" Series

"Outdoor Adventure Canada" is a series of 26 programs celebrating Canada's outdoor heritage that were shot all across Canada. Programs for the series won an astonishing 80 international television awards, including 29 Gold & Silver medals, at leading American Film & Television Festivals.

All programs (25 min) are available only from Goldi Productions Ltd

Show Me All 26 Programs in the Series

Ontario's International Plowing Match

We take a nostalgic trip into Ontario's rural past at the International Plowing Match, the largest outdoor farm show in Canada, where 50 teams of magnificent draft horses and their plowmen (and woman) compete to plow the straightest furrow and help to preserve our farming heritage. (DVD Cover, left)


"Many poignant moments stand out in these programs. I was particularly touched by the heartfelt tribute to Stan Rogers at the end of "The Field Behind the Plow"... Please accept my sincere congratulations for producing a vastly superior television series..." - Carl Gary Baker, Toronto, ON

"Feedback received was excellent from anyone who saw the production ..... We were impressed with your professionalism and the high quality of your production." - Don Bell, Pres.,Ontario Plowman's Association, Barrie ON

The International Plowing Match, the largest outdoor farm show in Canada. This is the largest annual heritage event in rural Ontario, attended by thousands of people, yet little known to urban audiences. It's considered so important to country life that farm parents are encouraged to pull their kids out of the school and take them along, so they can learn about both their rural past and future.

It's held in a different country each year, and the site is huge. It takes up three 300 acres farms, and exhibitors bring all the latest farm technology along to show off in the area known as "tented city".

Contestants show us what is involved in the art of plowing a straight furrow, and introduce us to the draft horses, known as "gentle giants" because of their placid nature.

This is a strong visual program, with lots of "tug-at-the-heartstrings" shots of teams of magnificent draft horses and their plowmen (and woman) working the land at a pace that belongs to another era.

The theme song is the Stan Rogers recording of "The Field Behind the Plow", one of the favourite songs written by a musician whom many people consider Canada's best writer of modern "folk" music.

Kathleen MacRobbie (right) says her father handed down the plowing tradition in her family, and she and all her brothers do it. "Preserve the heritage. That's why I keep coming back year after year," she says.


Cathy Antoine, who always wins the "best-dressed horse" contest, shows us how she braids and decorates a horse for a show in the traditional way, and she'll tell us about some of the history behind these horses and their gear. Many of their decorations go back several centuries, to the days when farmers felt it necessary to ward off witchcraft and evil spirits.

Cathy Antoine, decorating a friend's Belgians (right) is a member of the Ontario Percheron Association, but says all breeds have their champions, like the Belgians which Kathleen (above) and most plowmen prefer.

Others choose the native bred Canadians (below left), sent over to Canada by the King of France centuries ago, and shown left harnessed up complete with forehead medallions to ward off evil spirits.

"At least that's why it was done in medieval times," says Kathi. "Now we decorate to carry on the tradition. And actually a man taught me how to do this!"

One of the highlights each year is the Queen of the Furrow competition, to choose a bright young woman who will spend a year as an ambassador for rural Ontario at events around the province. Among other skills, the contests must demonstrate their ability to plow a straight furrow. This year, they really showed their spunk when they had to do their plowing during a downpour.

The tractor plowing competition attracts many young people including all the competitors for the "Queen of the Furrow" title, the winner of which  will represent Canadian farming activities at public functions across Ontario. Said the winner in her speech, "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of this girl!"

The heart of the event is the horse-drawn plowing contest, in which single plowmen (and one woman) compete to plow the straightest furrow. This not only honours skills needed in the past it also helps preserve the breeds of drafts horses that are the descendants of the animals that worked Ontario fields for a century. Many of the contestantss keep their horses just so they can compete in the annual Plowing Match. (Or perhaps they compete in the Plowing Match as an excuse to keep these beautiful horses.) It's the rare farmer that has the luxury of time that allows him to work his fields with horses these days, because 3 acres a day is too slow a pace for the modern world.
The International Plowing Match is the social event of the year for many Ontario farm people who, for the most part, live and work in fairly isolated situations.
Many of the competitors have know each other for years, though they meet only at this event once a year. But the Plowing Match is far more to rural Ontario than a social gathering - it is a celebration of both the past and the future of the farm community. This program gives viewers a warm sense of why country people have such a strong sense of their roots.

Worldfest Houston TX/ International Film & Video Festival

Worldfest Flagstaff AZ, International Film & Video Festival

US International Film And Video Festival, Chicago, IL

Internat'l Communications Film & Video Competition, ChicagoIL

Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival, Yorkton, SK

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