David Allanson Jones was a storekeeper and postmaster who settled in the small West Gwillimbury community of Clarksville during the 1860's. By 1870 he owned fifty acres of farmland and two swarms of bees. From these simple beginnings, Jones became the first commercial beekeeper in Canada. Across Europe and North America, David A. Jones was known as the Bee King of the Nineteenth Century. In 1875, Clarksville was renamed Bee Town in his honour. Eventually the spelling was changed to the short British form, Beeton.
Jones pursued beekeeping as an industry, not a sideline. To prove his point, he took two box cars of honey to the first Industrial Exhibition in Toronto in 1880. That amounted to 70,000 pounds of honey from 400 hives. At the time, most beekeepers brought a dozen jars and hoped to sell them by the end of the day. A master merchandiser, Jones sold most of his product for better than going rate.
Jones was the first to import bees into Ontario. Breeding stock came from Cyprus, Palestine, the Holy Land and Borneo. The imported bees had to be isolated for a period of time. Islands in Georgian Bay off Parry Sound were the location of choice.
While traveling, Jones learned that bees which fed on clover produced the purest honey. To feed his bees, he scattered wild white clover seed along railroad rights-of-way. Early farmers cursed this new weed whose seeds spread rapidly. Now it is grown extensively as a soil fertilizer.
Jones exhibited his honey throughout North America and Europe. While at the Crystal Palace in London, England, he persuaded the sons of British and Scottish gentry to come to Beeton to learn the beekeeping trade. A large number accepted his invitation and several married local girls.
Who then, but the town of Beeton, nestled in the rolling hills of modern day New Tecumseh in Simcoe County, should salute honey. Yearly, Beeton Honey Festival & Garden Show strives to present great family entertainment. Held on the last Saturday in May each year, the event is done up in grand style. Main Street is closed to allow vendors to sell in-theme wares. Visitors find honey vendors selling their sweet product along with beeswax candles, flowers and gardening supplies, in-theme crafts and other speciality items.
Main Street has some great late Victorian commercial architecture. The structures you see today are second generation buildings. Beeton's Main Street was largely destroyed by fire in 1892. Most buildings are of red clay brick, a hallmark building material in Simcoe County.
Many famous people can claim Beeton as home. Gordon Tamblyn, a druggist whose chain of Toronto stores became known as I.D.A. Drug Stores, was a hometown boy. Hockey players Wayne Carleton, John Gould, Bob Pulford and Jim Rutherford are area boys.
Who remembers Kate Aitken, Canada's early twentieth century answer to Martha Stewart? Kate was a Canadian radio and television personality, and newspaper columnist. For more than fifty years, her timely and homey advice was heard and heeded by thousands of Canadian women. Kate was born on the east corner of Centre and Main Streets.
There's nothing pretentious about Beeton's Honey Festival. Organizers don't advertise that they are the biggest, the best or the only event of its kind, even though they have a perfect right to do so. On the last Saturday in the month of May each year, the tiny high country community honours one of the oldest agricultural practices in the world by holding a great family-oriented street festival. What better place for this event than in the heart of some of the best agricultural land in Ontario, in a pretty town whose name is synonymous with honey.
This information was sampled from article by Pat Mestern