Georgian Bay Steam,Auto,Gas 
and Antique Association

History of the Georgian Bay Steam Club by Ellen Hickson

In 2010 the Georgian Bay Steam Auto Gas & Antique Inc. celebrated their 45th anniversary.  The name of the club came about because a few men from Collingwood all had the same interest in antiques and steam engines, etc.  They thought it might be a good idea to form a club for people to show their equipment and also demonstrate how they run.  These men had been to other shows and thought it would be a good idea to have one in their area.  The club was started and has grown to be one of the biggest and best around.  The show traveled around from Barrie to Collingwood to Cookstown to Beeton and then back to Cookstown, where it is currently is held each Civic Long Weekend.

In March of 1965 in the Shanty Bay Golf Club shed, where a steam engine was stored, a meeting was held to organize a show.  They installed their first president, 1st Vice and Secretary-Treasurer.  The first show was held in Barrie on July 1st and 2nd, 1966.  In 1967 the second show was held in Collingwood on the Civic Holiday Weekend in August.  In 1969 the show was moved to Cookstown fairgrounds.

The incorporation of the club name was done on June 29, 1970.  The constitution and by-laws were passed on July 18, 1970.  The club is run by a president, 1st Vice, 2nd Vice and 12 Directors with a Secretary and a Treasurer.  There are chairpersons for various categories of events that take place at show time.

There are awards given out to members for different areas of exhibits and one of these is an award for a member that has made an outstanding contribution to the club.  These awards are given out at our annual banquet in the fall after the show.

As the club grew there were more activities such as the slow tractor races, a talent contest, a fiddle contest and the Old Tyme Store.  The membership grew to over 400 members and more items of interest were available for people to enjoy.  A cookbook was put together and sold as a fundraiser, and show souvenirs became popular as sale items for fundraising for the club.

In March of 1980, on their 15th Anniversary, a club flag was presented and is still proudly flying at every show at our headquarters building.

In 1990, when the club celebrated their 25th Anniversary, a history book called "The Silver Wheel" was put together by some of the members.  This book was informative along with pictures of shows and members.

When Cookstown fairgrounds became to small to expand the show, they decided to move to Barrie again.  The show was held there from 1983 to 1985.

In 1985 a devastating tornado went through and it was difficult to hold a show with a lot of work cleaning up and repairing.  A move to Beeton was next in 1986 and the show was held there until 1997.

In 1998, the club purchased their own property in Cookstown on Victoria Street (also known as the 15th Sdrd).  We have 40 acres and are prospering quite well developing as we can afford to with buildings and a good track for activities such as antique tractor pulls and slow tractor races.  We have a good campground area and this is a popular feature as some guests enjoy staying with us and taking in our daily events.

Our aim is to keep the goal of the founding members and do them proud.  We have always tried to keep the tradition going of teaching the young of their forefathers' ingenuity and knowledge of invention and learning from them.  We also hope that they enjoy our show and will maybe want to have an interest in antiques as a hobby.

We have a working saw mill and shingle mill, a blacksmith shop, a barn for animals, and children's activities.  We try to keep the ladies interested with crafts and showcases, small antiques and articles that are collected and make for a nice display.  We have an open area for our flea market vendors and an exhibit of antique automobiles and trucks.

We try to have interesting displays that are working to show what they were made for.  We have a large variety of gas engines on display and some are attached to other items to make them run, such as washing machines and grinders.

Our club puts on a pancake breakfast that is always popular for campers, guests and members to enjoy.  Everyone loves to shop in our Olde Tyme Store and take a chance in our loonie draw for a good prize.

Our new showers are well received by all and are funded by a donation box at the entrance of the showers..  There are 4 regular showers and 1 handicap available.  Our parking is free.  We are very visible from Hwy 89 and accessible from several roadways.

As well as our antique tractors and machinery that we have on display, we also feature a different make of tractor each year and display them along with memorabilia of that make.  In 2010 a new building was erected to hold our show feature.  This building was a dream of one of our Past Presidents & Director for many years, Bob Hickson, therefore, was dedicated in his name.  This building is to display memorabilia and items for the "Feature of the Show".

Our members come from all over and bring a good variety of items of interest to display.  We also invite others to come and show their treasurers to help make our show as successful as it has been.

We have an antique tractor pull on our track for the big tractors as well as a pull for the lawnmower tractors.  We also have a peddle pull for the young children children's area.

When you are hungry we have good food vendors, corn is steamed by the steam engine and is always popular.  We have ice cream and yogurt as well as cold drinks for desert.

Our agricultural demonstration is always a popular place to see how farming was done in the past.  We have plowing with horses, threshing grain with the old threshing machine, and grain sheaves in the field.

The club souvenirs have always been on hand for those who like to take home a remembrance of a good time spent at the show.

Our archives are on display for everyone to look at and reminisce about times spent at shows in the past.  We have a memorial book and a memorial board on display in our craft tent.

A talent contest is held at the stage and is open to all who wish to take part.  We have different age groups and prizes for all who participate.

Our Sunday church service is welcomed by everyone and all donations go to the local food grains bank.

As our name says "Steam", we try to have as many steam engines as possible but the large ones are getting scarce because of the expense of owning and operating one of them.  There are a lot of rules, regulations and also inspections to be done on these big machines.  The boiler must be certified and also the operator.  We have mini steam engines and they are always enjoyed by everyone.

Our headquarters building is a busy place when registering tractors and exhibits for displaying.  Everyone is requested to register their items and show that they have the required insurance.  Our membership person is also in head quarters to assist you to renew your membership or for new people to sign up to become a member.