Darren Kent Little
by Myra Chepack
Darren was born on March 1st, 1976 and in 2017, is the sixth member of the Little clan to serve as President of Markham Fair. His brother Todd held the position in 2016, Dad Robert in 1992, his Uncle Barry in 1983, cousin Kim Empringham in 2003, and George Little who was President in 1946 and 1947. His great, great Grandfather John Little, was President of the Scarborough Agricultural Society which joined with East York Agricultural Society (today’s’s Markham Fair Board) in mutual agricultural pursuits in the very early days of the two societies.
The Jersey cattle raised by his grandparents Archie Little and Helen (Freeman), and ultimately by his Uncle Barry, were very much a part of Darren’s life on the Little homestead on Steeles Avenue east of the 9th Line. His maternal grandparents Carl and Earlene Hoover raised Holsteins on their dairy farm at Dickson’s Hill, giving him plenty of experience with cows.
Darren graduated from Markham District High School and then studied agri-business and turf management at the University of Guelph. When he was fifteen years old, he began working part time at Cedar Brae Golf Club on Steeles Avenue, not far from his home. Although his ambition was to become a police officer, after University, Darren took a full time position with Cedar Brae . While employed as the assistant superintendent, Darren added to his credentials at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y. and is now the Superintendent of the golf course.
Darren participated in hockey as a younger man and intends to provide his sons with that wonderful Canadian experience. As a farm-raised kid, Darren participated in 4-H and at University became a Junior Farmer. He enjoys playing golf and recalls his youthful summers spent at Twelve Mile Lake at the cottage of his maternal grandparents. He credits this experience with fostering his love of the outdoors.
Darren’s wife, Natalie Gunn, was born and raised in Nova Scotia and spent her summers on her grandfather’s dairy farm. She and Darren met at Markham Fair which she was attending as a visitor. They were married in August of 2007 and are the parents of twin four year olds, Daniel (named for Natalie’s great grandfather) and Archer (in honour of great grandfather Archie Little). Natalie teaches at Brooklin High School where she is head of the English Department. There is also a five year old member of the family whose name is Henry. He is a black Labrador Retriever and is Darren’s constant companion and co-pilot. His duties at the golf course include chasing geese, participating in all aspects of stewarding the land and stealing sandwiches when the opportunity arises!
Darren’s volunteer duties began, as did many, in Old MacDonald’s Barn. He has been a Board member for twenty-two years, during which time he has served on most committees but specifically rentals and special attractions and of course the grounds committee .
As a child, he and his brother were often in the truck and ready to go when Dad Robert was heading to the Fair, but not easily found when it was time to go home. Darren’s mother Carol has been an active member of the Homecraft Committee for many, many years and is intimate with the long term dedication experienced by so many members of her family. The Fair is as important to the Little family as the Little family are an integral part of the Fair.
Darren embraces and values the opportunities, his involvement with the Fair have given him. His message to others would be to become involved with the operation of the Fair to enrich their lives as he feels his has been. As a Board member his business and management skills contribute to the ongoing development of the Markham Fair. His commitment and desire to see continued success for the Fair and the attendees is of prime importance to him. He says that the looks on the faces of the people when they are leaving after attending Markham Fair are rewarding and inspiring.
As the sixth Little President, Darren is carrying on a proud tradition in his family and affording the rest of us the benefit of experience, dedication and commitment.