Back in 1945, when Cumberland had a population of only 4,000 dedicated to the pursuits of agriculture, an idea was hatched. Here was one of the two main land bodies of any size around the Ottawa Region, which was prime agriculture land, based largely on soils developed on the clay plains, and which covered a large part of Cumberland Township. This was land, which for many years in the future would be a centre for much of the produce, which would be used in the Ottawa region. From here would come the food that would be prepared and used in the homes, shops and restaurants of the city, displayed in local markets and provide a source of income for many local residents.
So why not organize an agricultural fair which displays these goods and promotes agriculture interests in the township, as well as acting as sort of a focal point for all residents of the rural section which was at that time, of course, the whole township.
Mr. George A. McCullough of Navan, early in 1945, inquired into a legacy left by the estate of the late Senator W.C. Edwards. This legacy was left in the interests of agriculture to the six townships which were then in Russell County – Osgoode, Gloucester, Cumberland, Russell, Cambridge and Clarence. This was in 1920, before Gloucester and Osgoode were transferred to the County of Carleton. For this reason the principle fair of the then Russell County was held at Metcalfe and the Society centered in Osgoode Township was known as the County of Russell Society. It was from this Society that the experience, information and encouragement were provided that established the nucleus of the body, which formed the CTAS.
An organization meeting was held at Leonard on January 30, 1946, chaired by Mr. George McCullough who had been quite active in carrying out the initial research. Although cheques from the legacy had been issued under the named, it was at this meeting that a motion was passed forming the Society to be known as the Cumberland Township Agricultural Society. The first Board of Directors were: W.Savage, N.Charlebois, G.McCullough, J.F.Bertrand, H.Joly, M.Johnston, N.Edwards, D.Watson, F.Nelson, Arthur Charbonneau, S.W.Rathwell and Oscar LaFrance. Mr. S.W.Rathwell was chosen as the first president, Mr. F.Nelson the first secretary-treasurer and S.W.Cotton and C.C.Rathwell the first auditors. The other officers chosen were Mr.J.F.Bertrand, 1st vice, and Mr.M.Johnston 2nd vice-president. A motion was passed establishing the headquarters of the Society at Navan and the Royal Bank at Navan selected for carrying the account.
On April 5, 1946 it was moved that the Society would hold a competition in the Township of Cumberland some time in the fall, that it would be held at Navan and that exhibitors for the first year would be restricted to the township. Mr.Rathwell, Mr.Charbonneau and Mr.Savage set out to organize the fair and attended a meeting in Chesterville to arrange for an opening date. A membership drive was launched, which resulted in obtaining a total membership of 64 who were issued cards entitling free admittance to the fair. Also the various committees were formed and some of the first rules and regulations were set down. The first year’s admission was adults 35 cents, children 25 cents, and cars 25 cents.