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Monday, November 12


Celebrating it's 90th year, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is always a worthwhile visit.  It can't really compete with the experience and authenticity of attending a smaller, rural fall fair that has the advantage of the country context.  Nor, do I imagine that the Royal today could compare to the spectacle it once was when it opened in 1922.  Significant changes to the programming happened in 1965:  livestock classes were reduced and judging standards were set to favour the utility of breeds, buildings were renovated, and the horse show was granted more prominence.  There is no longer a poultry building, the horse show is an extra ticket cost, and there is a heavy mandate towards trade related vendors, featuring food and wine.  

However, the livestock that is in attendance is still very much real and it is a joy to see the 4-H teens from various small towns across Ontario, and beyond, congregate, flirt amongst themselves, and compete against one another in the show ring.  I love to watch the cows get primped and fluffed, taste the Canadian cheeses and smoked fishes, smell the leather boots and saddles, and view the prize winning fleece, produce, and wheat sheaths.  Superdogs is quite good too if you can stand the line and the children; Frisbee dogs are the best.

Located on the CNE grounds, it is novel to experience a slice of country living in the city regardless of its shifting mandate, and especially if you can’t make it to a rural agricultural fair.  The sight of cattle being housed beneath the Gardiner Expressway is particularly entertaining.  

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