The History of Harrowsmith

When James Lawrence pasted together the first edition of Harrowsmith on a kitchen table in Camden East, Ontario in 1976, it didn’t seem likely that his vision of a national magazine on the virtues of getting back to the land would last. But before long Harrowsmith took off, quickly attracting legions of fans. Tapping into an urban desire to move to the country, the magazine also appealed to dyed-in-the wool ruralites as well. What Canada got was the first Canadian magazine to promote green living and a country lifestyle.

Over thirty-five successful years, the Harrowsmith name became synonymous with Canadian country living, and the magazine was considered Canada’s bible for rural living. Eventually evolving into Harrowsmith Country Life, it cultivated a fiercely loyal following in a community of readers who regularly contributed letters, advice and tips on home renovations, gardening and country living. It will go down in history as the first Canadian magazine to focus on organic living and alternative energy sources.

When the magazine closed its doors in 2011, a group of former Harrowsmith Country Life members came together under the direction of Moongate Publishing Inc. In response to overwhelming reader demand, Moongate re-launched Harrowsmith’s Truly Canadian Almanac in 2013. That was followed by a Spring issue, which would turn into the Gardening Digest the following year.

We are proud to continue the spirit of James Lawrence’s vision of providing a purely Canadian take on country living, the environment, and the sharing of useful information for country dwellers and anyone seeking to tread a little more lightly upon the earth.

With the launch of Harrowsmith Now, we are continuing the Harrowsmith tradition and bringing its values to a new generation attuned to social media, mobile devices and the engaging ways we can now tell our stories. Thanks for coming with us on this journey.

- Maurice Crossfield, Editor-in-chief