Spencer Tuck of Pouce Coupe proposed the idea of forming a horticultural society to arouse and foster an interest in the cultivation of better flowers, fruit and vegetables.
On May 23, 1938, a meeting was held in the home of Harry Giles — enough residents of Pouce Coupe and Dawson Creek were present to elect a temporary executive. It was decided that there would be a flower and vegetable show on August 6th. The officers named were Spencer Tuck, Mrs. Ed Anderson, Mrs. Harry Giles, Mrs. Jim Bond, Mrs. Tom Crack, and Mrs. Irwin Groh.
Members worked hard and held several meetings. In spite of the very dry season, a very successful show was held in the Legion Hall on August 13th. There were 34 classes and 185 entries, including 9 garden entries, and children’s classes. Competition was keen. Four challenge trophies were awarded and 30 winners were named with Mrs. Tom Norman the high aggregate winner.
Mrs. Glen Braden opened the show complimenting those responsible. The judges were Mr. W.D. Albright from the Dominion Experimental Farm in Beaverlodge, Mrs. J. Moore and Mr. Murdock of Edmonton.
One mischievous member exhibited a tasteful arrangement of foxtail in Mr. Albright’s lot, awarding it a consolation prize, 3rd class. This barbed joke provoked a dissertation on the increasing weed problem of the area.
The prize winner were: Mrs. Jack Tucker, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Dorey, Mrs. Jim McFarlane, Mrs. Weslak, Miss Hammans, Mrs. Hector Tremblay, Mrs. H. Giles, Miss Stevenson, Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. T.S. Norman, Guy Leeds, Mrs. S. Tuck, Mrs. I. Groh, Mrs. G Hiffernan, Mrs. Jack Patterson, Mrs. D. Linklater, Mrs. E. Haugen, Mrs. H. Calverley, Mrs. W. Reasbeck, Mrs. G. Mellor, Mrs. Jacques, Mrs. D. Torio, Dixon Clayton, Olive Norman, Jean Mellor, Anne Bullen, David Faust and Carl Torio.
The following figures show in some measure the great local interest evinced in the show. Dawson Creek had been incorporated as a village in 1932. Also, in the settled areas, there were probably more single family farms of a smaller acreage than at present.
In 1939 the Horticultural Show was again held in the Legion Hall. The number of entries increased to 270, showing a growing interest and the existence of some good gardens in spite of the dry weather and cutworms that had plagued the area. The grand aggregate winner was Mrs. Jack Tucker. Judges cane from Edmonton, Beaverlodge, Tate Creek, and Pouce Coupe.
The 1940 newspaper announcement of final arrangements for the August 10th show featured these comments:
No admission charge — No entry fee — No canvassing — Box for donations
To be held in the Legion — Hall open to the public at 3:00 pm.
Shows have been held every year since 1937 with the exception of the war years of 1943 and 1944. Ribbons and prize money have been awarded since 1945. The number of trophies has increased to a total of 25 in 1971. In 1969 there were 655 adult entries, including a sizable number of children’s entries. The 1971 prize list advertised 147 classes. A special feature that has delighted all has been the woodsy corner landscaped with mosses and forest plants.
In 1954, the members agreed to combine their horticultural show with the Fall Fair. In 1967, they agreed to convene the horticultural section of the Winter Fair. Visitors to both these fairs comment on the colour, charm and excellence of the flowers, and upon the agricultural potential that is so convincingly illustrated in the fine vegetable exhibit.
Members meet on the first Thursday evening of each month from February through November. The greatest number of members was registered in 1949 when 65 were on the roll call. The annual membership fee has increased from the original $.25 to the present $1.00.
Meetings have featured speakers discussing appropriate topics, such as harmful weeds, insects, insecticides, and herbicides, pruning and suitable shrubs and trees. Other programs have featured slide presentations showing beautiful gardens. Demonstrations have taught clever ways with planters and floral arrangements on seasonal themes, the monthly raffle for the Sunshine Fund, and year-end banquet and social evening are other features that distinguish the activities of this busy group.
[Note: this organization is still very active but is known now (1998) as the Dawson Creek and District Horticultural Society. The society still operates the horticulture exhibit at the Fall Fair and also sponsors a Garden Tour each July]