Fonds PIC - Otto Pick and Sons Seeds Limited fonds

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Otto Pick and Sons Seeds Limited fonds

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Reference code

CA ON00419 PIC

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  • 1930, 1955-1963, 2016 (Creation)
    Otto Pick and Sons Seeds Limited

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Physical description

36 cm of textual records (21 volumes and 2 documents)

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Administrative history

Otto Pick and Marie Jakesova were married in 1935 in the province of Bohemia, in the Czechoslovak Republic. Three years later, sensing the threat of war, they immigrated with their son and Marie’s sister to Canada. They began their life in Canada on a farm south of Caledonia, Ontario. The soil was poor and in 1940 the family moved to Streetsville (now Mississauga), Ontario, where Otto worked in machine shops, eventually starting the Tomart Machine Shop on King Street. When the Second World War was over, he returned to his agricultural background and joined the sale group of Greenland Permanent Pastures. In 1947, he decided to start his own company called Otto Pick Agricultural Services. The company initially worked with the supplier Middlesex Seed of London and orders were sent to a customer’s closest railroad station and paid by Cash on delivery (COD). At this time Otto Pick was the only sales representative. The company moved to bigger premises on Yonge Street in Richmond Hill, Ontario, in 1950. A warehouse and mixing equipment were installed in 1952. Sales agents were hired, covering areas in Ontario and Quebec. Marie Pick kept the company books, entering agent orders, noting delivery dates, price, weight, and other order, customer and banking data. Otto Pick died in 1959. Marie and sons Tom and Martin continued the business, changing the company’s name in 1962 to Otto Pick and Sons Seeds Limited. In 1964, the company built a small receiving and cleaning plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The company bought the Southern Ontario Seed Company based in New Dundee, Ontario, in 1966, entering into the seed corn market. It built a warehouse distribution facility in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, in 1969. The following year the company established Pickseed West in partnership with W. Kent Wiley in Albany, Oregon. The company expanded further in the 1980s, acquiring the following interests: the seed division of Maple Leaf Mills (Hogg & Lytle); Roberts Seeds from Agway Inc. (Albany, Oregon); the Canadian assets of AgriBiotech including Oseco Inc. and Rothwell Seeds Inc; Seed Research (Corvallis, Oregon); and Farm Pure Seeds of Nipawin, Saskatchewan. A distribution facility was established in Sherwood Park, Alberta, in 1986, and a warehousing facility in Abbotsford, British Columbia, in 1997. During this period of expansion, the headquarters was moved to Lindsay, Ontario, in 1993. With the acquisitions, the combined revenue made Pickseed Group of Companies the largest forage and turf seed company in Canada and among the top 5 in the world. The Group was sold in 2013 to DLF Trifolium Landboforingers and is now known as DLF Pickseed Canada Inc.

Custodial history

The Pick family donated these records to the Museum in 2016.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of textual records of the Otto Pick and Sons Seeds Limited company, a family business and precursor to the Pickseed Group of Companies, which became the largest forage and turf seed company in Canada. The fonds is comprised of 16 ledgers, 5 indexes and an agricultural school report card from Bohemia, with contemporary translation, for Marie Pick (née Jakesova) from when she graduated in 1930. The ledgers, indexes, and certificate with translation are arranged in three series and filed chronologically.

Notes area

Physical condition

Two ledgers and an index were separated to monitor for insect activity in July 2017. They were reintegrated with the other records in April 2018.

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English
  • Czech

Script of material

Language and script note

The original agricultural school report card is in Czech. A translation was provided by the donor.

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General note

Related material: The following artefacts were given to the Museum by the same donor in 2003 and 2015: AN0055, 4 seed bags, and BB0003, a Mangelsdorf Seed Germinator.

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Created by Adele Torrance, 2017. French proofreading by Céline Mongeau, Linda Larocque Linguistic Services 06-2018.

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