Flax Meeting at Freetown Cancelled Due to Snowstorm, Feb. 17, 1964

A severe snowstorm over a weekend blocked all roads in the Freetown area forcing cancellation of a meeting to discuss possible expansion of the flax industry on PEI. Zeger Salome, a native of Holland had been experimenting with growing flax on PEI since 1954 as it was felt the PEI climate was suitable for growing this crop. Mr. Salome believed that a flax processing facility could lead to a major industry for PEI. His interest was high due to test results from flax grown on PEI was of better quality than flax grown in the flax belt of Europe. Eventually a company called PEI Flax Industries Ltd was formed and by 1965 over 1500 acres of flax were grown in the Freetown area but it failed over time due to inadequate planting and harvesting equipment and lack of local processing ability.

The storm dumped 8.4 inches (21.3 cm) of snow in the Summerside area and up to 14 inches (35.6 cm) of snow in other parts of the province. Roads remained blocked for a few days due to heavy drifting snow.

Sources: Guardian, Feb. 18, 1964; Freetown Past and Present, 1985.

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