VITEO executive member Mary Montgomery admires part of the Dandy collection.      Van Dusen photo

by Tom Van Dusen
AgriNews Staff Writer
VANKLEEK HILL – Nobody was more surprised than president Hank Bakker when some 40 members and friends turned out for the final Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario road trip of 2017.

Bev MacLennan reclines among part of his collection during the VITEO October road trip. Van Dusen photo

“I was expecting a smaller crowd,” Bakker told participants Oct. 15 at Allen Dandy Farms near Vankleek Hill which boasts a John Deere collection. It was the second stop of the day, the first being at Bev MacLennan’s chock-a-block shed near Apple Hill. In between, the group had lunch at Herb’s Travel Plaza at the intersection of Highways 417 and 34.

Francois Latour takes a friend for a ride on his 1920 Massey Harris. Van Dusen photo

Bakker explained he thought fewer would participate because of late notice and the time of year. He was encouraged by the turnout when interest in other machinery clubs is waning. VITEO is doing more than holding its own… paid membership continues to increase and is well above the 200 mark.

At both stops, VITEO presented hosts with a custom tractor seat, a tangible thank you for going out of their way to receive guests and let them prowl through their collections. It’s another way the club creates a positive profile and encourages membership.

Devoted to preserving and promoting the rural way of life and its artifacts, one of VITEO’s main attractions for members is the road trip schedule which takes them across the eastern region, with the occasional foray into Quebec and the United States.

Starting with the Ottawa Valley Farm Show in March followed by the Cumberland Heritage Power Show in May, VITEO’s 2017 touring schedule covered a handful of rural museums, fairs and festivals where antiques were featured. In addition to a regular mailed-out bulletin, another draw for the club is the $5-million liability insurance umbrella covering all members and their machines when at a show or demonstration.

It’s a bit of a challenge to describe the Bev MacLennan collection. One part of it is easy; managed mainly by MacLennan’s nephew, it’s a grouping of bright yellow Vintage Skidoos. Contained in the shed, the other part is a lot of everything, mostly a jumble of kitchen utensils and tools from another time. Visitors picked their way carefully through the maze, stopping frequently to examine something they’d never seen before.

In one breath, MacLennan says he has no idea of how many items he owns; in the next breath, he reveals he has precisely 147 egg beaters.

At the Dandy farm, mostly bigger pieces made for a more orderly display. The core Deere display was enhanced by other large items brought in by VITEO members Francois Latour and Gord Hadley. One of the stars of the show was Latour’s fully operational, 1920 refurbished Massey Harris steel-wheeled tractor; another was miniature tractor-drawn hay wagons made from flat steel and spare parts.

VITEO will soon begin preparing its 2018 schedule, beginning Feb. 11, with the annual meeting starting at 12 p.m., west of North Gower at Pierce’s Corners Community Hall. All are welcome.