Horse lovers of all ages will be thrilled to know that for the first time since 2019 the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair returns in-person to Toronto. After going virtual due to the pandemic in 2020 and being cancelled altogether in 2021, this November 4-13 will see horses, ponies, cows, hogs, chickens, and more return to the historical Exhibition Place grounds to mark the 100th anniversary of the fair.
The “Royal” as it’s affectionately known first opened its doors in 1922 and swiftly climbed to the top of the Toronto social calendar with its boxes in the Coliseum filled with society’s who’s who dressed in tuxedos and and gowns. Renovations brought some changes to the arena, now called the Coca-Cola Coliseum, and its adjoining Direct Energy Centre, and fans (300,000 per year!) still come in droves to see everything from top-level show jumping action to the family fun in the cattle barn where there’s a petting zoo, butter sculptures, and loads of farm animals to check out. Add to that produce competitions, education stations, the enormous Food Court and an exhibit featuring highlights from the last 100 years.
New this year, The Royal will kick off its centennial celebration ahead of opening day with a 100th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Royal Showcase on November 2. The historic Heritage Court at Exhibition Place will be transformed to welcome 1,000 special guests for a meal curated and prepared by acclaimed chef Michael Bonacini. Following dinner, an additional 4,000 guests will be treated to The Royal Showcase, a celebration of Canadian excellence hosted by comedian and television personality Rick Mercer inside the Coca-Cola Coliseum. The show will include presentations from St. Andrew’s College Pipes & Drums, The RCMP Musical Ride, country musicians, First Nations singers and even a special performance from the legendary Canadian band Blue Rodeo.
Returning fan favourites include RCMP Musical Ride performances throughout the entire fair, the exciting President’s Choice® Animal Theatre with canines and equines and more. On Sunday November 13th, the afternoon rodeo kicks off for a single matinee performance which includes bull riding, trick riding, and a special appearance by Heartland star Amber Marshall.
Tickets for the 2022 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will be available for purchase at royalfair.org in the coming months.