One of the participants on Prescott-Russell’s Popsilo tour is Andre Ouimet of Vankleek Hill whose silo now sports a giant-sized likeness of a young farmer dressed in traditional garb and holding one of the main tools of the trade, a pitchfork.
In itself, the painted silo is a show-stopper. But there’s much more going on behind the scenes at Ouimet Farms Adventure; it’s a sprawling corn maze which celebrates, as does the decorated silo, Canada’s 150th anniversary.
As does the Popsilo project, Ouimet deserves a separate pat on the back for a job well done in promoting agriculture in an innovative way.
When seen from the air – Ouimet often views it through a drone – the seven-acre maze shows the word Canada, the number 150 against a maple leaf, 1867 – 2017, and the farm’s web address.
After the maze project was introduced on Facebook early in July, it was viewed thousands of times, with dozens of cars coming to the gate containing occupants hoping to get up close to it. However, they were told they had to wait until the end of July for the official opening, partly because of retarded growing conditions due to Eastern Ontario’s incessant cold, wet weather.
Ouimet created the maze the old-fashioned way. He counted the rows, did the math, and came up with a design partly based on a computer sketch. In all, it took about 20 hours to put the concept together.
This isn’t Ouimet’s first rodeo and he’s getting better at it. Last season, it took him about 40 hours to create an image of the logo of his cross-town neighbour Beau’s All Natural Brewery which was also realized in corn. Meanwhile, he’s transforming a barn into a showcase for agricultural antiques and establishing a farmers’ market on site.
Ouimet is always busy promoting agriculture, to the point that he bought some equipment from McMaze north of Cornwall and is now handling customer calls to the defunct operation.
It’s a sickness, Ouimet says of agriculture and the intense desire to tell the world about it. A sweet sickness!