Tobacco: The Green Gold of the Bothwell Sand Plains

Creator(s): Bothwell-Zone Oil Museum

Bothwell, known for its dry-sandy soil, was a perfect candidate to grow this newly discovered "green gold". In the late 1800s, the Bothwell economy boomed due to the discovery of "black gold" – oil. But with the decline in the oil production, Bothwell's prosperity was dwindling at the turn of the century. In 1937, the first tobacco farm was established and a booming industry took hold. In the late 1960s there were approximately 50 farms growing flue-cured tobacco within an eleven kilometre radius of Bothwell. In 2008, the tobacco industry in southwestern Ontario, including Bothwell, was almost a thing of the past due to changes in social attitudes towards the use of tobacco, political pressures and high tariffs. The "green gold" industry has dwindled to a mere few growers. The once lucrative farms that were the pride of the community now stand with decaying barns and kilns - to serve as a memory of better times. Many tobacco farmers have sought other avenues to making a living.

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