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Service honouring Fish Lake Garlic Man set for Saturday

garlic_manFamily, friends and fans will honour The Fish Lake Garlic Man on Saturday, Jan. 11 at a memorial service honouring Ted Macka’s life and legacy.

Tadeusz Maczka, 83, was known throughout North America for his knowledge, expertise and garlic gospel in his bid to make Canada self-sufficient in growing the lowly bulb. He died Monday, Dec. 30, at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital following a stroke.

Maczka was always wearing his cap affixed with garlic bulbs and for many years drove his van with an enormous bulb on its roof.

Born in Tarnow, Poland, he suffered a crippling injury in a Second World War labour camp. He immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s where he worked as a tool and die machinist.

An entrepreneur at heart, he developed a wholesale and retail business importing and selling European foods to small businesses across the GTA and Southwestern Ontario.

It was an article in the Financial Post discussing the millions of dollars that Canada spends on importing garlic, that prompted Maczka to make Canada self-sufficient in growing garlic. He purchased a hobby farm in Demorestville and over the next four decades won multiple awards for his garlic and travelled far and wide in North America sharing the garlic gospel. His awards at the Royal Winter Fair were legendary and he attended and instigated Garlic Festivals all over the province.

He ate garlic, drank garlic (with vodka as Fish Lake Fire Water) and slept and dreamed of the benefits of the bulb, believing Canadians should embrace the easy growing bulb. He extolled the bulb’s health benefits and healing powers.

Frequently, as a guest speaker, he would tell his audience to plan garlic with the tops high and the flat ends down, “otherwise the garlic will grown down to China and that’s why they sell it so cheap.”

And while garlic was his life’s passion, he was also well known for his strong willed, 20-year battle with Quinte Conservation and the Ministry of the Environment over the alteration of waterways and flooding of his land.


The Garlic Man by Igor Babailov

Igor Babailov, world-renowned portrait and figurative artist, has painted portraits of presidents, popes and royalty. The Garlic Man sat for him three times.

“Ted was certainly a source of inspiration for me and my students, whenever he posed in my portrait master-classes,” said Babailov. “He was the most interesting man, always up-beat and sharing stories of his life.

“He was so vocal in his health mission for garlic and criticizing pills, that it would even provoke the Canadian “pill industry” to respond. I remember him proudly sharing, that after being featured on the Canadian TV program Global News, he was even called the “Garlic King”.
Ted Maczka, the Garlic Man, was an extraordinary man and he will be remembered by many.”

Last summer, local artist Milé Murtanovski presented a painting of Maczka to the Prince Edward County Library. The portrait was part of the artist’s Field to Canvas series of  farmers.

“Donating the painting to the library and having it on  display for the public in perpetuity seemed like a great way to honour Ted as a significant contributor to the area’s agricultural history,” said Murtanovski. The painting is at the Picton branch and is also displayed on a rotating basis at each of the library’s six branches.

Memories of Maczka flooded Facebook this week.

“What a great guy promoting the benefits of garlic for so many years before it was mainstream,” said Sally Fulton.

“I will never forget going to an Ontario Vegetable Growers conference in Toronto and as we pulled into the hotel, there was the garlic van with that enormous garlic on the roof. Couldn’t believe my eyes,” recalls Kathryn Ostrander.

“We lost a very special person in the County,” said Suzanne Dick.

Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to attend a memorial visitation to celebrate Ted’s life at the Whattam Funeral Home, 33 Main Street, Picton, on Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 1-3 pm. If desired, donations in his name can be made to the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation.

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  1. Terry Ryan says:

    nothing has everbeen mentioned that he resided at Maples Retirement Home in Sophiasburgh for 10 years operated by Jean Dorenberg they were great friends

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