Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
|Royal Agricultural Winter Fair|
|Genre||Winter agricultural fair|
|Patron(s)||Queen Elizabeth II|
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, colloquially called The Royal, is an annual fall fair in Toronto, Ontario, which takes place over two weeks in November. Inaugurated in 1922 and originally housed in the Coliseum, on the grounds of Exhibition Place, the event has expanded to also take up the Direct Energy Centre and remains an important exhibit for livestock breeders. Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, is the fair's royal patron.
The original plans called for the first mounting of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to take place in 1921, but this was delayed when a heating system for the Coliseum could not be installed in time. The first show thus opened on 22 November 1922, drawing to its livestock competitions 17,000 entries from several provinces and the United States. The fair then, save for the years when Canada was embroiled in the Second World War, consistently provided for farmers a forum to display equipment, discuss new trends, and showcase wares. Members of the Canadian Royal Family have also been guests of honour at the fair.
In 1965, significant changes were introduced by the federal Department of Agriculture, which had been a longtime sponsor of The Royal. Both the number of livestock classes for each breed and the number of entries per breeder were reduced; new judging standards were set, emphasising the utility of the breed; buildings were renovated; and the Winter Garden Show and Horse Show were given more prominence, the latter attracting some 75,000 viewers in the mid 1990s. By 1996, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as a whole saw over 325,000 attendees, exhibitors, and international and local visitors, and there was accounted for: "over 3,000 head of cattle, 1,300 horses, 1,600 birds, 500 sheep, 300 goats and 300 pigs" were on display along with "world championship field crops, giant vegetables and many more agricultural products, educational exhibits and feature attractions." The following year, for the fair's 75th anniversary, a commemorative stamp was issued by Canada Post.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is Canada's most prominent agricultural event within both the provincial and national scopes. Its mandate is predominantly trade-related, featuring wine and food shopping as well as the livestock, machinery, and foodstuffs displays. Entertainment includes an international horse show, cattle shows, chef competitions, rodeo, and President's Choice SuperDogs, although there is no midway.
- Canadian National Exhibition
- Calgary Stampede
- Pacific National Exhibition
- Central Canada Exhibition
- Royal Manitoba Winter Fair
- Western Fair
- Details (Ottawa: Canada Post Corporation) 6 (6): 12–15. 1997.