Escarpment Magazine Fall 2012
John Mitchell was a pioneer in the industry being the first to ex-
periment with different fruit varieties. He received a contract
for his “experimental farm” by the Ontario government and by
Mitchell is listed as having grown seven varieties of
apple as well as several other experimental fruits. In 1905,
John Mitchell with brother George, William Reekie, John Veith
and Albert Moore formed a company known as the Georgian
Bay Fruit Growers Association. They built a large cement apple
house and cold storage plant on King Street in Thornbury. In
the Association incorporated their enterprise and began
selling shares. The directors’ goals for the organization were
to; market apples, purchase prime orchard land in Clarksburg
area and to construct cold storage units and cannery. They
would obtain these goals, establishing the Mitchell brand of
apple products. In 1932, the Georgian Bay Fruit Growers
would build a plant on Highway 26 for making cider, apple
juice, vinegar and apple sauce.
In 1919, Paul Haines established an evapora-
tor plant in Clarksburg. The machinery in the
evaporator would peel, and core the apples
before applying heat from a coke oven to dry
the fruit for better storage. In 1977, the business
was sold to Thomas Kritch and re-named
Golden Town Apple Products which is still in ex-
istence today, however, with more modern juice
making machinery as the demand for dried ap-
ples has decreased.
Today there are 700 apple growers in Ontario
with 60 being found in the Georgian Bay area.
The Bay Growers’ Co-operative, established in
helps the growers meet requirements in
the competitive apple industry. The residents of
our community 100 years ago would have mar-
velled at the high yield dwarf apple trees and
grapefruit sized apples that are produced in
such quantity today. We have many living re-
minders of the industriousness of these early set-
tlers in the wild apple trees that dot the
landscape of our township today.
apples grow here
T.S. Dinsmore Orchard -
the early days were a
family affair.
In 1863 Andrew Dinsmore began
his orchard business which is still
being operated by descendants today.
Georgian Bay Apple pickers -
circa 1914