Mr. Archibald was raised on a farm in Seaforth, Ontario. It was a mixed farm, and Mr. Archibald became interested in livestock judging competitions in Huron County at an early age.
He entered the Ontario Agricultural College in the fall of 1929. He kept “fairly accurate records” of his total cost of his five years at school, which he estimated to come to just a fraction over $2,000.00.
His interest in livestock judging led him to become a member of the team from OAC that went to the World’s Grand Judging Competition in Regina, and his team won. His team placed second in the Dairy Cattle Congress in 1934.
He began his working career at Beatty Brothers in Fergus, Ontario. He next worked at Masters Feeds, which had been owned by Toronto Elevators Limited. Toronto Elevators Ltd amalgamated with Pioneer Cafeteria Feeds. Mr. Archibald was one of the ones responsible for bringing Toronto Elevators, Master Feeds and Maple Leaf Mills, Ltd. together. At the time of his retirement, Mr. Archibald was Senior Vice President of Maple Leaf Mills, Ltd.
AudioA. William (Bill) Archibald interview
R. Hay (00:02):
I am interviewing AW Archibald, in the class of 1934 for the Guelph Alumni Association, alumni in action. The interview has been conducted by Ross Hay.
R. Hay (00:20):
Your original home address, Bill, was a Seaforth.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (00:25):
That is correct.
R. Hay (00:26):
And you were a farm boy.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (00:27):
That is also correct.
R. Hay (00:30):
Dairy farm, beef farm?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (00:32):
It was a mixed farm. It was 150 acre farm of shorthorn cattle and some hogs, and chickens. Generally a mixed farm.
R. Hay (00:45):
Who persuaded you to come to OAC in 1929? Was there more than one person, or what was the reason?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (00:53):
Well, I guess there was more than one person. I became interested in the livestock judging competitions in Huron County. As matter of fact, I took part in the very first one held there. The Ag rep at that time was George Patterson and the assistant was Russ Osler, and they had quite a little influence. I also met a couple of students at that time, Abe Stolz and Steve Stackhouse. The outcome of that was I became interested and eventually quite determined to go to Guelph and entered the associate course in the fall of 1929.
R. Hay (01:34):
What was residence like Bill, in your date?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (01:39):
Oh, I entered the college in 1929. We stayed in Johnson Hall. We were in the first floor, what was called GRA valley. It was adequate, but it was an old, old building and was torn down I think about two years after that, and the big modern administration building. But we enjoyed it, and as I say, it was adequate.
R. Hay (02:09):
Do you remember what the cost of room and board?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (02:13):
No, I don't. I can't remember. I did keep fairly accurate records ever. And my total cost for the five years that I was there, two years and associate, the intermediate year and the third and fourth year degree, was just a fraction over $2,000.
R. Hay (02:33):
Isn't that something compared to today?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (02:34):
That would be something.
R. Hay (02:38):
Did you have hazing or initiation in your time?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (02:41):
Yes, we did. It was I guess what took place in most of the universities at that time, but it was nothing really disturbing.
R. Hay (02:52):
I have a few things here about it. What about the flag fight?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (02:56):
That was before my time. That was probably the historic thing, but that was before my time.
R. Hay (03:06):
Another one was in the judging pavilion, which is now the...
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:11):
R. Hay (03:12):
... the cake or something like that. You were in a compulsory, a prayer meeting there one time. Do you remember anything about that?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:22):
No, I wasn't there.
R. Hay (03:23):
You weren't there?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:23):
R. Hay (03:23):
You don't remember anything about it?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:27):
Not a thing, I don't... No, not guilty.
R. Hay (03:31):
The Orthodox snowball fight?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:35):
That was also before my time. That was a year two before my time. That was the fight where they stripped the clothes off the boys and caused quite a commotion in the city of Guelph. But again, that was a year or two before my time.
R. Hay (03:54):
And cockroach races?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (03:59):
No, not guilty.
R. Hay (04:04):
Another one that I had here was the outburst of missionary zeal when you laundered many of the freshman year. Do you remember anything about that?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (04:14):
No, it doesn't really mean anything to me. No.
R. Hay (04:24):
Did your freshman year win inter year rugby and basketball?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (04:30):
Well, I can't just remember exactly. They played, at that time, they were playing in football. They had good football team all through the years I was at college, but they were playing in what they called the intermediate inter collegiate. I'm not sure. They won it several years, but whether that was one of the years or not, I'm not sure. I could tell it if I looked at the year in my yearbook.
R. Hay (04:57):
Well, I did look at your yearbook.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (04:57):
We did win it?
R. Hay (04:57):
A. William (Bill) Archibald (05:00):
I see. Yeah. I didn't play rugby. I was active in athletics. I was on the boxing team and was president of the athletic association, but I don't just remember the team years, but they had a good football team all through those years. The coach at that time was a man by the name of Fred Baldwin. Oh yes.
R. Hay (05:24):
Now you are a member of the Chicago international livestock judging team. You're also a member of the Waterloo dairy judging team. That's Waterloo, Iowa, I presume.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (05:36):
That's correct. Yes, between my third and fourth year, first of all, they had the world's grain judging competition in Regina. I was a member of that team. It was Norm Hoag, Bruce Koho, Charlie Heat, and myself. And we went to Regina, and there was 11 teams. There was four from Canada and seven from the United States competing in this, the world's grain judging competition. We won the competition. Bruce Koho was the top man in the competition. Norm and I were the other members of the team, and Charlie was the spare. Then we went to the world's dairy cattle Congress in September of '34. We placed second in the dairy cattle congress in '34, and then to the world... little east, the Chicago pat stock show, I think they were called up at that time. I've forgotten exact place, but I think we were about 11, and a group of 34 teams.
R. Hay (06:57):
Now this grain judging in Regina that took place in 1933?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (07:02):
R. Hay (07:03):
A. William (Bill) Archibald (07:04):
Yeah, 1934. That was the only time it's ever been held.
R. Hay (07:11):
That was wonderful. How did OAC prepare you for your work or life after you graduated?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (07:23):
Well, I don't know how I would've got along without it. It was up to that point in time at least, it was the highlight of my life and I feel I owe a tremendous amount to the college. I hate to think of what might have happened to me if I hadn't had attended the OAC.
R. Hay (07:47):
Were there any particular profs that helped you along the way?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (07:57):
Well, I specialized in animal husbandry and of course that whole group there, and particularly professor JC Spetley. As a matter of interest I spent one summer and worked on his... he had a farm down near Stouffville. I became very, fairly close to prof and his whole family. As a matter of fact, when I graduated in '34, I had been selected by the AnHub Department to go to Indiana that fall and take my master's degree and come back and go on staff and be on the animal husbandry department. But fortunately, or unfortunately, I thought unfortunately at the time Mitch Hepburn came on the same, and he went in there on a basis of cutting costs and Duncan Marshall became Minister of Agriculture. To make a long story short, Prof Spetley who was sponsoring me, was fired. Consequently, I never did do this post-graduate work.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (09:15):
However, as I think in the long one, maybe this was a blessing in disguise because I believe I was more cut out for the industrial field than I was the agricultural professor type of thing.
R. Hay (09:32):
Now, Mitch Hepburn, he was the premier of Ontario at the time.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (09:34):
That is correct. The conservatives had been in power for years and years, and Mitch came in and he was quite a flamboyant character, and he just swept the problems.
R. Hay (09:51):
Well after OAC then, where did you start to work when you left?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (09:58):
Well, as I say, when I graduated, I didn't even look for a job because I was slated to go to take this postgraduate work. But then when that fell through, I started looking for a job and I ended up with the Beatty Brothers of Fergus. I worked there for six months, but it wasn't in my liking. I had also applied to Master Feeds, at that time owned by Toronto Elevators Limited. They got in touch with me and they didn't have any openings at the time. I first approached them, but they got in touch with me in January of 1935. I started with them as a salesman.
R. Hay (10:41):
Well, you climbed the ladder with Toronto Elevators, and they amalgamated with Pioneer Cafeteria Feeds. Yes, Pioneer Cafeteria Feeds, and before that, they had amalgamated Pioneer in Cafeteria. And I think you were one of the ones responsible for bringing the three together as Master Feeds and Maple Leaf Mills Limited. Then I believe I'm correct in saying you climbed the ladder to become a senior vice president of Maple Leaf Mills. And you were that upon retire.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (11:19):
That is right.
R. Hay (11:22):
You were in charge of the master feeds division of Maple Leaf Mills.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (11:25):
Yes. So I referred to that as, at that time as the agricultural division, which included at that time, the poultry processing and the growing operations. Since then, that was separated into two separate divisions.
R. Hay (11:42):
Did that include Sinclair green as well?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (11:44):
No. Sinclair Green was always a part of the grain division.
R. Hay (11:51):
Now you met your wife at OAC, when you were going to OAC?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (11:52):
Yes, I met my wife at one of the semi-weekly hops that we had. As I recall it, we went over there to Mac Hall for a half an hour, and that's where I met my wife. I don't know whether it was love at first sight or not, but anyway, for the rest of the years that I was at Guelph, which was my third and fourth year, we attended all of the social functions, et cetera, et cetera. And then four years after we graduated we were married.
R. Hay (12:31):
What was her maiden name?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (12:33):
Her maiden name was Allen Morgan. She came from Delhi, the famous tobacco company.
R. Hay (12:40):
Right. And how many children, Bill, do you have now?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (12:42):
Three, two girls and the one boy.
R. Hay (12:47):
Now I may have left something out here that you would like to say in this interview. Is there anything else you wish to tell us?
A. William (Bill) Archibald (13:00):
Well, I don't know there is, Ross. I feel a tremendous debt to the college. I hate to think what might happen to me if I hadn't of become a student at the Ontario Agricultural College. It meant a great deal to me. I think it made for the background for what turned out to be very happy, and I would think a fairly successful life.
R. Hay (13:34):
Well, I thank you very much, Bill.
A. William (Bill) Archibald (13:35):
R. Hay (13:36):
Pleasure interviewing you.