There are many garlic events in Ontario, however, the Toronto Garlic Festival is special and with a solid Polish background. The festival feature Ontario farmers displaying several varieties of garlic, including rare and heirloom types, plus great foods and garlic-related products.
And it does not stop there you can expect film screening, informative talks and contest such as garlic breath contest, musical performances, braiding workshop and cooking demo.
How It All Started
Peter McClusky the founder and the person behind the Toronto Garlic Festival, in the past, headed international distribution for a New York digital stock photo company. After 11 years he started questioning his current path and his way of life. Subconsciously he felt farming was calling his name. One day he said good bye to Manhattan and return to his hometown – Toronto.
His farming journey started with helping one of the plot farmers Kate Hamilton at McVean Farm (the very same farm that we are currently utilizing to gain our experience in growing vegetables) who offered him space to grow veggies. Later he met Robert Litke who introduced him to different kind of varieties of garlic and another farmer Bob Baloch offered him space to grow his garlic.
The most commonly known garlic in Ontario is called “Music,” it was named after Al Music, who came to Canada in 1956 from Bosnia (in the former Yugoslavia). Al got his first few bulbs from his Polish neighbor. Al is also a co-founder of the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario.
The market has changed. For years tobacco had always been a reliable, high-value crop in Southern Ontario. Now garlic replaced tobacco (the government stop subsidizing tobacco industry + the government brought measures discouraging tobacco buyers) taking Ontarians away from smoking while promoting the health benefits.
Source : Peter McClusky “Ontario Garlic, The Story From Farm To Festival”