On today’s date in 1933, the first World’s Grain Exhibition and Conference opened in Regina, Sask., where 50 acres were set aside for a tent city to accommodate 3,000 visitors.
Held July 24-Aug. 5, the massive event featured dozens of displays – spanning nearly three kilometres altogether – on agriculture, science and world events. The academic presentations highlighted contemporary issues, including trends in the wheat market and causes of agricultural decline.
It was considered a significant public event at the time of the Great Depression and attracted nearly 215,000 visitors.
Also on July 24, 1933, Canada’s Post Office Department (now Canada Post) issued an overprinted stamp to commemorate the opening of the event.
While the department planned to issue a stamp promoting the grain industry, it was unable to produce a new design and decided to overprint a 1930-dated 20-cent brown-red pictorial stamp (Scott #175) that featured a grain-harvesting tractor.
The inscription, overprinted in blue, reads: “WORLD’S GRAIN EXHIBITION & CONFERENCE” in three lines above the central vignette with “REGINA 1933” in one line at the bottom.
The “Harvesting Wheat” overprint (SC #203) was issued on the opening day of the World’s Grain Exhibition and Conference.
‘GREATEST CASH PRIZE LIST EVER OFFERED’
More than $200,000 in prize money was announced for the show’s grain competitions, according to The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan by the University of Regina.
Organizers claimed it was the “greatest cash prize list ever offered” and planned to build a massive exhibition hall spanning nearly 15,000 square metres and costing more than $240,000.
To promote the event, organizers released 800,000 prize lists plus 25,000 posters, 75,000 booklets and many other advertising items.
By 1930, participation in the show was confirmed from many countries around the world, including the U.S.; the U.K.; Peru; Guatemala; New Zealand; Belgium; Italy; Netherlands; Poland; Yugoslavia; Czechoslovakia; Siam; Chile; the Philippine Islands; South Africa; France; Switzerland; Australia; and several provinces of India.
For more information about the 1933 conference, see The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan.