OUR BEGINNING

Mr. Bill Croft of Hamilton, Ontario a detective in the Morality Division of the Hamilton Police Department had a vision which goes back to 1952. Bill's vision was to have local rabbit clubs formed in Ontario and an umbrella Provincial Organization. Bill also had his sights on a National Organization to represent breeders nationally.

Bill placed a notice in the Hamilton Spectator for any interested rabbit breeders to meet at the Agricultural Hall on Market Street in Hamilton. There were several breeders from the Dominion Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association in attendance and other breeders in the Hamilton area.

There was a lot of interest at this meeting and as a result the Southern Ontario Rabbit Breeders Association was founded with the following as Charter members, Bill Croft, Bing Harris, Errol Morton, Doc Montgomery, Ed Fuller, Eric Bingham, Cliff Arkell and Mrs. Perks. When the Southern Ontario Rabbit Breeders Association was firmly established Bill Croft and Bing Harris travelled to the Kitchener area to meet with local breeders there. The Kitchener Waterloo Rabbit Breeders Club was then formed in 1959. Bill and Bing then travelled to the Simcoe area to meet with local breeders and the Simcoe Club was formed. Other clubs in Ontario quickly followed ,"Central Ontario Rabbit Breeders Club" Sault Ste Marie, "Forest City Rabbit Breeders Club", "Eastern Ontario Rabbit Fanciers Club", and others. The clubs finally joined together to form the "Ontario Council of Rabbit Clubs" Bill Croft might well be termed the "Father of the Canadian Rabbit Industry". He died on May 18th 1970 leaving behind a great heritage for all Canadian rabbit breeders.

It is with sadness that I report the passing of a stalwart of the Southern Ontario Rabbit Breeders Association, Doc Montgomery.
Doc was a charter member of the SORBA when we founded the club at a meeting on Market St. in Hamilton, I think it was 1952, Doc's wife Dorothy was the first secretary of the SORBA.
Doc (short for Dawson) raised New Zealand whites and did well with them on the show table. He worked for Fuller Brush in Hamilton and was transferred to Jamaica where he worked for several years. On his return, they settled on the Hamilton Beach strip, where we used to go smelting with Doc and Dorothy. We had great times together. They later moved to Carlisle where he raised poultry and Dorothy raised Silver Martens.

He was very active in the Poultry Association in Rockton and helped out at their annual fall fair. I also recall going to Ottawa with him and John Richter to meet with the Department of Agriculture over some movement in Ottawa to form a National Oganization.
He was just a great fancier and loved his birds and rabbits. Georgina and I sure miss Doc and Dorothy, as we were long time friends.
Bing Harris

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