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History

A look back at the Royal Winter Fair through the decades (PHOTOS)

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Liora Ipsum Nov 04, 2016 1:26 am 440

The Royal Winter Fair kicks of today, Friday, November 4 on the CNE grounds in Toronto.

Now in its 94th year, the agricultural fair prides itself on welcoming the country to the city each year.

So how did it all start?

The first national agricultural exhibition opened on November 22 in 1922. It was the effort of a group of farmers seeking to set national standards for the judging of domestic animals and the fair found a home following the construction of a new livestock arena, the (now Ricoh) Coliseum on the Toronto Exhibition Grounds.

In its inaugural year, the fair drew 17,000 entries to its livestock competitions and has since become the annual forum for farmers to display equipment, discuss trends, and showcase wares.

1922

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The inaugural Older Jersey Cows Show in 1922.

1929

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 18700.

Royal Winter Fair, dogs, Champion Mighty Atom and Miss Florence Massacar, Toronto.

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 18749.

Royal Winter Fair, turkey with owner, R.H. Stapleton, St. Louis, Saskatchewan.

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 18693

Royal Winter Fair, Lord Willingdon with G. champ Jeremy Bull.

1930

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 22567.

Official group photo at Winter Fair opening 1930.

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 22578.

Judging cattle in ring, Winter Fair 1930.

royal winter fair toronto

City of Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail fonds, Fonds 1266, Item 22609.

Winter Fair, Lord Willingdon and D.O. Bull, in ring, 1930.

1949

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

A cowgirl at the Winter Fair, 1949.

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Horse jumping used to take place outdoors, 1949.

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Early horse showing was mostly done my military men, so competitors were often military service cavalry service men like Major Gayford shown here with his horse, Gamin, 1949.

1950s

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Corn display with model, 1950s.

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The Ring of Excellence, 1950s.

1965

Significant changes introduced by longtime sponsor of the fair, the Department of Agriculture, saw new judging standards implemented in 1965. Fair buildings underwent renovations and top attractions like the Winter Garden Show and Horse Show were given more prominence.

1968

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The Royal plays host to important figures and celebrities each year. Here, Prince Phillip poses with the Mexican team in 1968.

1970s

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

In past years, like in the 1970s shown above, it was common for horses and cows to arrive at the fairgrounds via CN rail.

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Winter Fair/Facebook

Rodney Jenkins and Number One Spy winning the International Open Welcome in the 1970s.

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Winter Fair/Facebook

Princess Anne’s 1974 Fair visit shows her presenting an award to David Broome.

1980s

royal winter fair toronto

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Square dancing at The Royal in the 1980s.

2015

The Royal Winter Fair/Facebook

The Royal Winter Fair/Facebook

The Lil’ Sebastian of Toronto was the star of last year’s Royal Winter Fair. Don’t worry if you missed him. He’s back for 2016.

See also

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Liora Ipsum
Daily Hive's Toronto Food Editor. Follow me on Instagram

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