The E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm CollectionNovember 1, 2013
Edward Plunkett (E.P.) Taylor was one of Canada’s most successful and influential businessmen, transforming and creating entire industries. Yet his most enduring legacy is connected to a horse — Northern Dancer, the first Canadian thoroughbred to win the Kentucky Derby, on May 2, 1964. Canadians celebrated Northern Dancer’s Kentucky Derby win in the streets. The horse was deluged with fan mail and the mayor of Toronto awarded him the key to the city. After retiring from racing, Northern Dancer became the greatest sire of the 20th century.
The descendants of E.P. Taylor recently donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization the E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection, a unique and historic collection featuring 97 racing trophies, many won by Northern Dancer. The collection richly documents the rise of Windfields Farm, owned by E.P. Taylor and the careers of its thoroughbreds through promotional brochures, photographs, racing programs, press clippings, correspondence, foaling records and many other items.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Museum of Civilization for honouring my father E.P. Taylor, Northern Dancer and Windfields Farm by including them in their future permanent exhibit and for their commitment to house the Windfields racing trophies and share them and their history with Canadians across the country” said Mrs. Judith Mappin, the daughter of E.P. Taylor.
The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, an independent panel of experts, has designated the E.P. Taylor – Windfields Farm Collection to be of outstanding significance and national importance.
E.P. Taylor – the visionary
The Windfields Farm Collection is a testament to the energy and vision of E.P. Taylor. In the early 1930s, after a distinguished career at a stock broking firm, Taylor acquired 30 small breweries to form Canadian Breweries, which grew to become the world’s largest brewing company. In the postwar boom, he controlled or held major shares of leading companies in mining, forestry, broadcasting, chemicals and manufacturing.
At Windfields Farm, E.P. Taylor bred and raced thoroughbreds with the same acumen and energy with which he ran his other business interests. During the 1960s, Windfields Farm earned more prize money than any other breeding stable in North America. By 1970, E.P. Taylor was the world’s most successful breeder of racehorses; he established a U.S. branch of the Windfields Farm operation in Maryland, with Northern Dancer and his stud fee which eventually rose to US$1 million as its prime asset.
As E.P. Taylor’s grandson Jefferson Mappin says, “A long-term associate of my grandfather once said to me, ‘To make the right decisions in one business is very good management, but to make them in a number of diverse businesses is genius.’ I’m certain my grandfather would be delighted that Canada’s national history museum will be the steward and guardian of his legacy as the chief architect of the modern evolution of Canadian thoroughbred racing and breeding.”
If you would like to support the National Collection Fund, please contact the Development Department at 1-800-256-6031 or at historymuseum.ca/support.