Toronto's CNE is at risk of closing its gates forever

May 14 2021, 2:35 pm

The CNE faces significant financial loss after cancelling this year’s event for the second time and is now at risk of closing forever.

It is estimated that the CNE will lose up to $70 million in revenue due to the 2021 closure and will have to reassess the “financial viability” of surviving a second consecutive year of money lost.

According to the CNE Association, the not-for-profit agricultural organization which oversees the event, the CNE saw a $6 million loss in 2020 after making the unprecedented decision to cancel its 18-day in-person event.

“Without government support, the 142-year-old Canadian National Exhibition Fair could close its gates forever,” Toronto Councillor Mike Layton said in a tweet.

A petition, hosted by Layton, calls on other levels of government to save the CNE and provide aid to “secure the future” of the event and the economic activity it brings in.

They’re asking the federal and provincial governments to contribute $5.5 million each to support the CNE.

Last year, the City of Toronto provided aid following the 2020 closure, and according to Mayor John Tory, it will do so again this year.

“I am working with the Canadian National Exhibition to help the fair through this difficult year and prepare for a bigger and better in-person event in 2022,” Tory said in a statement.

“We are committed to working with the CNE as a partner, to support continued operations and to ensure that this historic event has a successful return in 2022, and I am confident that the other governments share that determination.”

Western Canada’s Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) also faces similar financial complications after announcing its cancellation for the year.

According to the CNE, cancellations and financial losses of 2020 and 2021 will have a “consequential impact on the future” of the event.

Karen DoradeaKaren Doradea

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