Anyone who farms or enjoys curling in the Vankleek Hill area probably knows Murray Allen. For nearly 80 years, he has lived on Allen Road. He purchased his first farm from a neighbour on the road when he was 17 years old and the property deed had to be granted to his father. At the time required property owners to be aged 21 or more. That first 100-acre farm has since expanded to four farms on 800 acres composing what is now Allensite Farms.
“It’s just everything I wanted to do. That’s why I’m still here, I guess,” said Allen about his love of dairy farming and the community.
“You work with your neighbours, you make friends; it’s really rewarding,” he said about the local farming community.
Allen and his wife Shirley (née Barton) raised three sons and three daughters. Murray is now semi-retired and recalled how much modernization took place of the dairy farms’ operations over the years.
“Hard work, but very rewarding,” is how he described it.
Allen noted how the Vankleek Hill community always comes together to support events and each other.
“It’s the people. People make the community,” he said.
Over the years, Allen’s own community involvement has included serving as a school board trustee and as a member of the local cooperative board, and the board of the former United Cooperatives of Ontario, along with the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society, which organizes the annual Vankleek Hill Fair.