The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (AAA) has a rich agricultural and community background. In 1911, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad from Parksville to Port Alberni brought new settlers to the Coombs and Hilliers area seeking a new life in farming for their families. The CPR made land surrounding the railway available to the new settlement. The original Salvation Army settlement began in 1910 and was subsequently named Coombs after Canadian Salvation Army Commissioner Thomas Bales Coombs, who lead the first group of British Settlers to the area. Coombs is now recognized as a popular tourist destination, attracting over a million visitors a year to the Coombs Old Country Market, famous for the goats on the roof of the market.
In 1913, with the help of the BC Government, a number of the new arrivals organized the area’s first agricultural fair showcasing local fruits, vegetables and livestock. The Coombs Fall Fair, now held in August each year, has continued to thrive and grow over the last 100+ years, and has been recognized as an example of a successful agricultural fair, maintaining its core values of supporting agricultural and community values.
The AAA was initially incorporated as ‘The Cameron, Nanoose & Newcastle Agricultural Association’ on April 22, 1924, to promote and support local agriculture and settlers in the area. The name was changed to the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association in 1948.
Since its inception, the AAA has followed its original mandate to foster community spirit by offering a place where community can come together and share ideas. In our current times, where citizens are concerned about food sustainability and safety, organizations such as ours are able to provide resources, services and skills to support them. Through our fair exhibit categories, we pass along the traditional skills of home and farm to new generations. It is paramount to the AAA that the traditional agricultural way of life is preserved and our food supply is safe and sustainable.
Our team is propelled by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors
Don brings a wealth of knowledge encompassing agriculture, farming, and governance. Don is a local beef farmer and 4-H leader and has been involved in the association for several decades.
Mary Ellen Campbell