Business View Magazine | October 2019

47 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2019 VANDEN BUSSCHE I RR IGAT ION & EQUI PMENT LTD . and Red Square called Vanden Bussche for its expertise on the sad state of the government green spaces. Vanden Bussche Irrigation then designed and oversaw the installation of an irrigation system which has kept those world- renowned lawns in top shape to receive world leaders. Vanden Bussche Irrigation has also designed, sold, and serviced numerous irrigation systems in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Tanzania, as well as providing expertise as consultants on large-scale projects. Marc Vanden Bussche, President of Vanden Bussche Irrigation & Equipment Ltd., shares the fascinating backstory of this long-time family business. “It all began with my grandfather, Gerard Vanden Bussche, immigrating to Canada from Belgium in 1926 to work in agriculture. At the early age of 28, he was share-growing his first tobacco crop. In 1930, he bought his first farm; in 1931, he bought two more. And everybody knows in the early ‘30s, it wasn’t good times. He was working hard and continued to work hard, buying, selling, and developing farms – in those days there was a lot of land clearing. “Then, in 1945, he buys an area of muck land in Grand Bend, Ontario – 1,200 acres that’s a complete mud bog. He offered to give Belgian immigrants a parcel of his land to start their own farm if they would help clear these 1,200 acres. The land they earned would allow them to grow their own crops and support their families, while using Gerard’s equipment to get started. So, they dynamited underground to drain the marshland, turning stumps upside down to get them out of the way. In the end, he developed 800 acres and eventually sold it in parcels. In 1954, when my father, Roger, was 24 and out of university, he and my grandfather started an irrigation company based on the tobacco industry. “Because there were a limited amount of tobacco farms, you could only sell so many systems to them. And these systems last for decades because of the way they’re manufactured. So, the company diversified in the ‘60s into nursery, and greenhouse,