Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | October 1, 2014

Artifact of the Week. The McIntosh. “THE APPLE ONTARIO GAVE THE WORLD.”


The McIntosh Apple was discovered by Dundas County homesteader John McIntosh along with 20 other trees while clearing his land.  McIntosh transplanted the trees, but failed to harvest the apples until only one tree remained in 1830.  Tradition relates that fate now intervened, and a local farmhand taught one of John’s children how to cut and graft trees – this tree produced the McIntosh.

From left to right:  A pre World War I postcard depicting apple pickers in Eastern Canada; Allan McIntosh looks at the tree he discovered which produced the first McIntosh Apple in 1904, at Dundela.  The tree is now gone, but numerous plaques mark the discovery, as seen in this 1952 stone unveiling.  It is also possible to enjoy direct descendants of the original Mac from Smyth’s Orchards, situated less than a kilometre east of the first tree.

John named the fruit “Granny” in honour of his wife who nurtured the tree.  His neighbours thought that this was a common name for an uncommon apple and persuaded him to give it a distinctive label and he rechristened it the “McIntosh Red.”  The apple’s popularity spread slowly until E.D. Smith if Winona tasted it.  The fame of the Mac now spread to the United States and throughout the world.

Today every McIntosh in the world is related somehow to the first Mac picked in 1830.


Harvesting the Mac at Smyth’s Orchards, Dundela.  Photograph courtesy of Smyth’s Orchards.



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