Nov 17, 2023
This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Toronto to attend the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, also simply known as “The Royal”. This ten-day event, that happens every November, is filled with animal shows and competitions, food vendors, and agriculture education events. The fair is located at the Exhibition Place, close to downtown Toronto.
While the event is located in downtown Toronto, don’t let that deter you from going to this amazing event. Right at the entrance of the Exhibition Place are three large parking lots, so there’s plenty of room. Parking is $18, and by debit or credit only.
Once you are parked, walk across the street where a side entrance is visible. Just past the entrance, you’ll have to buy your ticket (or you can always buy it beforehand online). This past year, ticket prices were $30 for adults (18-64), $20 for seniors (65+), and $20 for youth (4-17). There is also a family option. Tickets prices are available online too. It often changes year to year.
Once you have your ticket, you’re free to explore the two exhibition centres. The first exhibition space upon entering is filled with vendors of all sorts (and usually have a “Royal” discount). Some of the vendors included candy, baked goods, clothes, horse gear, artwork and there was even a section on food in Northern Ontario.
Geese, Taken November 4, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario by Becca Nagle
But don’t spend too much time at the vendors, make sure to see all the beautiful animals in the next exhibition space. Check out the cow barn just off the vendor space. In the cow barn, you can see the farmers getting the cows ready for the animal shows that take place. They wash the coats, trim the hair and make sure the cows look presentable. Beware, this place can get a bit smelly if you’re not used to barn smells. The farmers do their best to clean up, but animals can be unpredictable. I went the first weekend, so I saw all the beef cattle, but this is also the space for the dairy cows the following weekend.
Next to the cow barn, was the horse barn that consisted of two floors. The bottom floors housed the giant Percheron horses whose caretakers were getting them ready for the show. Above were the quarter horses used for English riding.
These two were my favourite animals to see, but there were also areas to see pigs, goats, and fowl like chickens, ducks, and geese. There was even a petting zoo that had llamas. There was also a horticulture that displays some of the largest vegetables I’ve ever seen!
If at this point, you’re getting tired maybe sit down and enjoy a show in the “Ring of Excellence”. Shows consist of an exhibitor leading an animal around the ring with a judge looking at the characteristics of the animal such as height, weight and length. The judge is also looking at the showmanship of the exhibitor and how they present the animal. The judge then decides the winner. There are several classes usually having to do with the age, breed and sex of the animal. It’s definitely interesting to see!
And that’s about all there is to do at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! It’s a little late to go now, but if you’re ever in Toronto in November, I highly recommend checking it out.
Giant Pumpkin, Taken November 4, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario by Becca Nagle