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A New Sleigh From Robson’s

January 11, 2022

Robson's Winter Delivery... The original image nicely shows how the second St. James Anglican Church once overlooked the town from the Church Hill... today the water tower stands near the original site

Back when most families were farm families, they worked day after day, doing repetitive manual labour to get by. Once winter came, the fields were frozen, the crops were in, the animals and children still needed to be cared for, but now there was time for fun. Christmas began a season when there was much more time for recreation and enjoyment, when families had the time to go for a sleigh ride and visit their friends. It was also a time to start getting ready for the new year.

The backbreaking labours of getting in the hay and turnips just to keep the animals fed was a reality that even children knew all to well. Six-year-olds were mature enough to help with haying. Starting in the second half of the nineteenth century farm machinery held the promise of relieving the drudgery of processing just about everything by hand. The new year was a time of looking forward to the coming season, to purchase the equipment that would make life a little easier, and maybe even a brand new sleigh!

In 1877 Thomas and William Robson opened a foundry on Cameron Lake that made fanning mills, ploughs and other farm implements. Six years later they added a retail office on Colborne Street, which soon branched out into ordering machinery from larger manufacturers like Massey Harris and Cockshutt. Monty Robson, the last owner, was a much loved community figure, at the forefront of practically every community event going. The day that the village’s order came in was much like a winter fair, full of excitement and anticipation for what the new year could bring. Where would be the first place you would go in your new sleigh?

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