It was on March 13, 1969 in Coaticook, a town located south of Sherbrooke, where some thirty five Christmas tree growers attended a meeting with on its agenda the foundation of the Quebec Christmas Tree Growers Association. They had invited a guest speaker, a Franco-American, in the person of Mr. Lorrainy Marchesseault, a well-known grower who had helped numerous people to begin growing Christmas trees here in Quebec as well as in the U.S.A. Mr. Marchessaeault was a director of the Vermont-New Hampshire Christmas Tree Growers Association. His help in setting up the APANQ was greatly appreciated.
Following an open debate, it was proposed and accepted unanimously that the persons attending the meeting should form a group to set up an association. This was the birth of the Quebec Christmas Tree Growers Association, using the APANQ as its acronym.
The first board of directors was made up of twelve elected members. Mr. Montarville Cotnoir was selected as the president while Mr. Jules Thibault accepted to become the secretary of the Association.
Following many procedures, the APANQ officially obtained its incorporation on August 20, 1969.
Since the assembly was held to create the association in 1969, the board of directors became active to achieve the goal of the association.
During the meeting of the board of directors on May 6, 1969 the Minister of Lands and Forests at the time, Mr. Claude Gosselin participated in the study leading to a discussion concerning the powers of the board of directors on the executive council and the different categories of members.
A field day was planned to take place on May 17, 1969 at Mr. Richard Downey’s plantation in Gould, QC. It was indeed the first official field day ever held.
During the next twelve months, many topics concerning the development of the Christmas tree sector were brought up.
- Admissibility to forestry loans for the culture of Christmas trees related to the Office du credit agricole, the Farm Credit Bureau.
- The beginning of approaching and affiliating with American Associations by attending and participating in their activities.
- Study on the quality standards in order to establish a grading system.
- A request was presented to the Department of Agriculture to declare the Christmas tree growers eligible for bulldozer hours as was done for other cultures.
The first year ended with a budget deficit of $303.65. The incomes were $663.47 coming from the membership dues (121 members x $5 = $605) the expenses rose to $967.12. On September 30, 1970, there was only $28.25 in the bank.
It was taken during the first field day held in May 1970. The persons in the picture were Mr. Jules Thibault, Montarville Cotnoir, Jean Dumoulin, Forestry Eng, Richard Downey in front, Emery Lanctôt behind, Maurice Downey holding the tree and Jean-Louis Loubier.
The picture belongs to the Maurice Downey collection.
A few events in a chronological order:
- March 13, 1969, the first meeting of 32 members interested in rowing Christmas trees.
- August 28, 1969, the APANQ officially received its incorporation.
- July 11, 1982, it was decided to publish the newsletter La Branche.
- In 1990, the APANQ in collaboration with the MAPAQ launched the Christmas tree warning network in order to develop an approach to the integrated pest management to control the ravaging pests and diseases,
- In 1993, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation designated an agronomist to help the development of the production of Christmas trees and their representatives belonging to the APANQ.
- On August 12 to 14, 1993, Sherbrooke hosted of the “Rendez-vous ‘93”. It was on the occasion of a North American convention greeting Christmas tree growers from all over Canada and many American states.
- In 1998, the first Web site of the Association was available on line. It was to be restructured in 2011.