of the Breton Plots
began to travel to their Alberta homes, they generally chose to settle the prairie
and parkland regions first, partly because of their dark, rich soils that made
for good agricultural land. These fertile soils were Brown and Black Solonetzic
homesteads in the prairie and parkland regions were taken, settlers began to
move into the more wooded areas in the province. Settlement in the forest belt
became quite common in the years of 19101920, and settlement often had to
wait until the lumbering companies had cleared the area before they could take
over the land. It was thought that these lands would be good for agriculture
because of the many white poplar and white spruce trees that had previously
grown there. However, they would soon discover how wrong they were!
It took three
men to pool their resources to create the Breton Plots. Dr. Frank Wyatt
established the first Department of Soils in Canada at the University of
Alberta. He was also very familiar with the Morrow Plots, a similar design to
the soon-to-be Breton Plots, at the University of Illinois. Dr. John Newton was
appointed to the very same Department of Soils in 1922. It was these two men who
started research in 1929 at the future site of the Breton Plots.
Mr. Ben Flesher
made the land available that was used for the first plots in 1929. He did much
of the manual labour himself that kept the plots running smoothly.
All three of
these men collaborated and created a valuable and appreciated resource for
farmers not only in Alberta, but the world over. The 20-acre plot of land which
housed the Breton Plots was bought by the University of Alberta in 1940, and the
rest, as they say, is history.