A.P. Stevenson, pioneer fruit grower of Manitoba, was born at Bannockburn and spent most of his early years on the braes of Killiecrankie in Perthshire, Scotland.
He came to Canada about the age of 20 years old and worked outside of Toronto, farming and ditching, prior to proceeding westward to Winnipeg in 1874. Stevenson was among the first farmers in the West to make a success of fruit growing. His farm, eventually known as Pine Grove Nursery, was situated near Morden, Manitoba. Here he experimented in a number of fruits, including cherries, strawberries and plums. However, it was in apples that he specialized. He experimented mostly with those of Russian origin and from these many experiments, established an apple industry on the Prairies. Known as the “apple king,” his apples carried off innumerable prizes at exhibitions in Winnipeg and other cities across Canada.
Stevenson was very interested in public service. He was in great demand to address meetings. As a tree planting inspector for the dominion forestry branch for 20 years, he was known throughout the country. His advice concerning shelterbelts, landscaping, fruits and all aspects of farming was invaluable.
Stevenson’s many honors include the best exhibit of homegrown apples won at the Lethbridge Dry Farming Congress in 1912; the Carter Gold Medal, presented posthumously in 1923 by the Canadian Horticulture Council “For Advancement of Horticulture in Canada” and the Stevenson Memorial Gold Medal. This medal was established by the Manitoba Horticultural Association who wished to perpetuate Stevenson’s memory and is awarded periodically in recognition of distinguished work in Prairie horticulture, with emphasis on variety improvement.