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Peace Cairn and Golden Plough

by the late John Boughen, former Director of the NFA, Port Hope

The new cairn

The Cairn of Peace and the Golden Plough that stands on the Northumberland County property at the corner of Elgin and Burnham streets in Cobourg, Ontario stands there as a symbol of peace and unity for world peace. The plaque on the stone cairn reads:

This Cairn of Peace And The Golden Plough
Honours The First World Ploughing Match
Held Here October 8-9 1953 
Similar Cairns are Reaching Across the World
That Man May use the Plough To 
Cultivate Peace and Plenty
Dedicated September 12, 1955

The Cairn of Peace and the Golden Plough was unveiled on September 12, 1955 by the Honourable Paul Martin, Sr. Minister of Health in Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent's' government. It was quite a ceremony with many dignitaries in attendance including Jim Eccles who won the first World Ploughing Match from Brampton, Ontario, and the runner-up Bob Timbers from Milliken, Ontario. There were bands in attendance and a flyover by planes from the Air Force Base in Trenton, Ontario.Logo celebrating the rededication.

The Golden Plough was handmade by Douglass Randall in 1954 at the Dominion Foundry in Cobourg. His son Neil Randall remembers helping his father build the plough in 1954. Mr. Douglas Ranall modelled the plough from the golden miniature of the "Norfolk" plough which is given to the winer of the World's Ploughing Match. The original plough tropjy is now in a museum in England. 

1955 dedication ceremony.

 This type of plough (Norfolk) invented or developed by Josiah Tull at the beginning of the 18th Century in England made a great contribution to the rise of modern agriculture.

The stone work for the cairn was built by Robert and James Skillen well known stonemasons from Cobourg.

The World Ploughing Organization was founded in 1952 after discussions between Alfred Hall (secretary of Workington and District Agricultural Society in England) and Jack Carroll (Secretary-Manager of the Ontario Ploughmans Association in Canada) commenced in 1948. Subsequent meetings included Arie Stehouwer (farmer and competitor in the Netherlands) and others from Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and Finland. One of seven objectives adopted by the World Ploughing Organization is "By these means to encourage fellowship and understanding amongst the people of all nations".

Note: This information courtesy of Bob Timbers, a past chairman of the World Ploughing Organization. From an article "The Norfolk Cairn By A.W. Osborne" it says, "On September 26, 1955, the Hon. Paul Martin, in an address to the Plenary Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the subject of World Peace, described the Cobourg Cairn and extolled the plough as: A message of peace and harbinger of hope and abundance for all mankind. What better symbol could be found for our united determination to help bring about the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy, "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up the sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more." 

The Golden Plough Lodge

The vision for the new Golden Plough Lodge (GPL) has been unveiled, with the concept drawings for the replacement home, to be built by 2025. Council directed staff to secure architect and project management services in order to move forward with the official design and build, which is anticipated to cost just over $40 million.

Construction began on the existing GPL in the mid-1900’s. Two later additions to the structure, as well as significant renovations to one of the wings in the 1990s, brought it to its current size and configuration. In 2007, the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care introduced revised standards for long term care facilities, requiring that these be met no later than January 1, 2025. With the extent of renovations required to make the existing GPL compliant determined to be infeasible, staff began to lay the groundwork in 2014 for the construction of a new facility, to be fully operational by 2025.

Based on provincial direction, the new GPL will continue to be a 151-bed home, though the County is exploring designs that could accommodate future growth if supported by the province. To be located on an empty parcel of land currently owned by the County just west of the existing GPL, the new facility will include a mix of private, semi-private and basic rooms. The ‘campus-style’ site plan reveals a park-like setting with accessible trails connecting the new facility with the County Headquarters building and Halcyon Place, as well as surrounding amenities.

Watch the video of the re-dedication of the Cairn below.

For more videos of the re-dedication ceremony, please visit the Cairn of Peace Series Page.

The 1953 International Ploughing Match Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery: 1953 International Ploughing Match will appear here on the public site.