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Horse Racing: Canadian Museum of Civilization acquires E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection

Northern Dancer Gatineau, Quebec, September 27, 2013 — The Canadian Museum of Civilization has acquired the E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection of archival materials, memorabilia and 97 racing trophies, many won by Northern Dancer, the greatest thoroughbred sire of the 20th century.

This unique and historic collection was donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization by the Taylor family, heirs of Edward Plunket (E.P.) Taylor, the prominent Canadian business magnate who revolutionized thoroughbred breeding and racing in Canada. The donation was unveiled today at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, with members of the Taylor family.

The E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection has been recognized by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board as a collection of outstanding significance and national importance. It will play a part in the new Canadian Museum of History.

“The E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection documents Canada’s emergence as a world leader in thoroughbred racing and breeding, driven by the vision and remarkable skills of E.P. Taylor,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. “Northern Dancer’s racing successes captured the hearts of Canadians during a time when the nation was forging a proud identity through achievements recognized around the world. As part of the National Collection, the Windfields Farm trophies will take an honoured place among other iconic memorabilia of Canadian sport that represent Canadian enterprise, energy, excellence and achievement at home and abroad. We are delighted that the Taylor family has entrusted these treasures to Canada’s national history museum.”

“I would like to extend my thanks to the Museum of Civilization for honouring my father E.P. Taylor, Northern Dancer and Windfields Farm by including them in their future permanent exhibit and for their commitment to house the Windfields racing trophies and share them and their history with Canadians across the country” said Mrs. Judith Mappin, the daughter of E.P. Taylor.

In 1964, Northern Dancer became a national hero by becoming the first Canadian horse to win one of the world’s most prestigious races, the Kentucky Derby, in a thrilling stretch run against the favoured American horse, Hill Rise. Canadians were ecstatic — the mayor of Toronto awarded Northern Dancer the key to the city, Canada’s sportswriters voted him Athlete of the Year and he was deluged with fan mail. He then went on to win the Preakness Stakes, the second of the American Triple Crown races. Hopes ran high across Canada for a final triumph at the Belmont Stakes, but a tired Northern Dancer came in third. Later that year, he easily won Canada’s prestigious Queen’s Plate but sustained a tendon injury that ended his racing career.

As a racehorse Northern Dancer was a household name, but after his retirement in 1964, he played an even more important role as a sire. His offspring earned more money and won more major stakes races than those of any other sire up until the 1990s. In the 1980s, his stud fee reached US$1 million, an amount four to five times his rivals. In 2009, 70 percent of the thoroughbreds racing in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup were descendants of Northern Dancer.

E.P. Taylor purchased Windfields Farm near Oshawa, Ontario in the 1950s. During the 1960s, Windfields Farm earned more prize money than any other breeding stable in North America. The E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection richly documents the Farm and the careers of its thoroughbreds through promotional brochures, photographs, racing programmes, press clippings, correspondence, foaling records and many other documents.

As well as running one of the world’s most successful breeding stables, E.P. Taylor also strengthened the Canadian racing industry. As president of the Ontario Jockey Club, he consolidated money-losing racetracks into fewer, financially viable operations.

Some of the signature pieces of the E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection will be on view to the public in the Museum Lobby until October 14, 2013.  The Museum will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of Northern Dancer’s Kentucky Derby win with a display in May 2014.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is the centre for research and public information on the social and human history of the country. Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Museum is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum of Civilization’s principal role is to preserve and promote the heritage of Canada for present and future generations, thereby contributing to the promotion and enhancement of Canadian identity.


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