Old Concept, New Design
so is the building that now bears the family farm name.
The current structure has gone through various incarnations, beginning
in 1992 as an auction barn. Taylor, who was a dairy producer at that
point, dispersed his herd and built the barn with the intent of holding
beef cattle auctions. However he quickly realized he could also hold
estate or furniture sales, as well.
An auction barn on its own may not be that remarkable, and as Taylor
was building his 15 years ago, he was visited by a young farm equipment
salesman who happened by one day. Their conversation had a profound
effect on his life.
doors weren’t even on it when we were building this place, but
he came in and said, ‘This is quite the thing, but what are you
doing here?’” , recalls Taylor, with a smile. He told the
young man that he was putting in an auction barn with standard bleachers
and a walk-around underneath. “And he said, ‘Why would you
do that? As soon as you do that, you can’t have another thing
That brief encounter opened Taylor’s eyes, and not being afraid
to try something different, he decided to keep the floor open with a
balcony on its east and south walls, facing an elevated stage in the
opposite corner, putting those on the balcony at eye level with the
auctioneer. The floor itself is smoothly-finished concrete
and the walls are adorned with a variety of farm implements, hand tools
and kitchen items, all accented with harrow wheels that are painted
purple and yellow.
Nowadays, on top of the occasional cattle auction in the spring or fall,
the barn at Purple Hill Farm is in demand for weddings, anniversaries,
reunions and performances by local entertainers. The hand-made, wood-crafted
arbour is a favourite for mothers-of-the-bride, and its wheeled design
makes it easy to move anywhere in the barn. Among the musical acts,
Terry Sumsion has performed four times, and Roy LeBlanc, a well-known
respected Elvis and Roy Orbison impersonator, has entertained audiences.
And when the local cemetery was in need of financial assistance, Taylor
hosted a benefit concert with 17 acts.
Taylor is currently engaged in a large addition to the barn, and he
notes that with London Airport expanding its services across the country,
the potential to attract larger shows, ventures and exhibitions is literally
going sky high.
Yet in spite of its drawing power, Taylor makes no apologies for his
rural roots and simple approach to life.
“Whenever we have a function, I make sure I get on that stage
and I tell everyone that they’ll never get any closer to the country
than they will here, because on the other side of that wall, someplace,
there are 350 head of cattle,” he explains, matter-of-factly.
“That’s how we make our living; we’re in agriculture
and we’re proud of it, and we don’t make any excuses for
what we do. And you’re our guests, and we love having you, but
no one’s making you stay.”