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Prince Edward Island Provincial Heritage Fair
Harness Racing PEI
I researched Harness Racing in Charlottetown PEI, that runs deep in both sides of my family. I completed research from a combination of local harness racing books and interviews with family members involved in the sport. One of my interviews was with my mom who is the winningest female harness racing driver on PEI. I also focused on the local racetrack in Charlottetown, The Charlottetown Driving Park as well as Old Home Week, and the Gold Cup & Saucer Race which my Dad's horse won in 2020. Finally, I researched some of the top harness racing driver's from PEI and learned that some of the most successful drivers in North America have come from PEI. This project taught be the importance of the Harness Racing Industry to PEI as well as my family's involvement in the sport for many decades.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I learned that several of the top harness racing drivers in North America come from Prince Edward Island, such as Wally Hennessey who has over 10,000 lifetime wins and Mark MacDonald who has won over $100 million in purses both who come from Charlottetown PEI.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
I learned that in Canada some people work in the horse racing industry as a full time job, while others do it as a hobby. In addition, the harness racing industry has many occupations such as drivers, trainers, owners, breeders, veterinarians & blacksmiths.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
Today's harness racing industry has both similarities and differences to the way the industry operated many decades ago when my family first started into the industry. The horses are much faster now than they were in the mid 1900's due to better breeding and advances in equipment. Similarities over time include how the horses are cared for on a daily basis as well as blacksmith techniques which have remained the same over time.