Hon. Ernest C. Drury

Following his academic training at the Ontario Agricultural College, Ernest Drury returned to the home farm where he became a leader in his community and later the first citizen of the province. As a young farmer he applied the knowledge gained at college and thereby became a teacher by example. Among his innovations, which were widely copied, was that of building the first cement silo in Simcoe County.

Early in his farming career he showed an interest in farm organizations. In 1906 he became the first secretary of the Canadian Council of Agriculture, an organization bent on wiping out protective tariffs. In 1913 Mr. Drury was honoured by being elected the first president of the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO). Although not organized for political purposes, this organization decided to field candidates in the 1919 provincial election and succeeded in electing the greatest number of members. They chose Mr. Drury as their leader and thus he served as Premier of Ontario from 1919-1923.

During his term of office a great deal of agricultural legislation was enacted. Reforestation and water conservation policies were initiated; agricultural schools were established at Ridgetown and Kemptville; the embargo on cattle exports to Britain was lifted and a provincial highway system became a reality.

In recognition of his lifetime of work for agriculture, the Department of Travel and Tourism erected a memorial plaque in front of his birthplace near Crown Hill, north of Barrie.

Nominated By:
  • Ontario Federation of Agriculture