Farmer, Ontario legislator and Canadian Minister of Agriculture.
1840-1909 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Raised on Maple Shade Farm in Winchester (later Brooklin), Ontario, John Dryden bred Shorthorn cattle, Shropshire sheep, and Clydesdale horses, and accepted leadership roles in many breed organizations.
After serving on his township council, Dryden was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1879, where he would serve until 1905. In 1880, he was appointed to the agricultural commission and was named Minister of Agriculture in 1890. As ag minister, he restructured the troubled Ontario Agricultural College, established dairy schools at Strathroy and Kingston, and created a “traveling dairies” program—portable, horse-drawn dairies which toured the province to educate farmers.
Dryden strengthened Canada’s dairy industry with these programs, and also found new markets for dairy products.
Facing American tariffs and competition from Dutch exports, he raised quality standards and promoted cheese and butter factories, establishing a solid export market to Britain. In 1895, he founded an experimental farm that was closed by the opposition when he lost the 1905 election, but the city that grew in that location still bears the name of Dryden, Ontario.
Did You Know?
Welcome to Dryden, Ontario Canada - named after John Dryden