Friday, August 22, 2008

Canadian National Embarassment

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) started as an agricultural fair in the late 1800s. Rides and games were introduced in 1937, but the agricultural shows and competitions remained a major attraction when I last attended in 2000. On Wednesday I was surprised and disappointed to find that agricultural showcasing has been practically eliminated from the CNE. A small fraction of the hundreds of stalls in the horse pavilion were filled, and the larger farm area had been usurped by merchants who were selling cheap stuff at warehouse prices.

Across the grounds a much smaller building has been dedicated to farm-related displays for children. The sorry creature shown above was, apparently, the best horse specimen they could find. I can only hope that the general public doesn't leave the CNE thinking that horses should look this way -- that fatty crest suggests she could founder at any moment. Please tell me that the Royal Winter Fair has stayed true to its roots?


Kristina said...

I can tell you that the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is still very agriculturally oriented with many different displays focused on all aspects of the agriculture industry from grain to dairy, pigs, horse care (wrapping lessons booth! haha!) etc. As well as having a very prestigious and well attended hunter jumper show (gold rated) there are also a lot of heavy horse competitions, 4h competitions, breeding of livestock is judged, grain is judged, carcasses are judged (yuck! seeing as I'm vegetarian, but still). So it's still very focused around agricultural events and well attended by the public and people actually involved in agriculture.

I have competed in the horse show for two years now and really enjoyed it.

I went to The Royal in Toronto last fall and it's to a very quality horse show, but a lot of the booths (other than the tack shops) were oriented more towards the general public than agricultural types. As well there weren't a lot of educational displays and the like.

So... Come to Brandon, Manitoba? Haha. It's basically the most exciting thing that happens in Brandon every year, which might be why attendance is so great. It's always super super crowded. Definitely still completely oriented around agriculture etc. though.

dp said...

I was at riding camp (in Ontario) one summer with a girl from Brandon, and I think of her whenever I read or hear about it. Our bunks were close together and I remember her telling me about the winters there. Her name was Christina (though possibly Kristina) -- not you, I presume?

The Royal in Toronto was one of my favourite events as a kid -- my father would always take me as he also loved to look at the animals. Glad to hear that some of these shows still have agriculture at the heart of them.

Kristina said...

Nope, not me. Looking around the barns was probably my favourite part of my trip to Toronto not including seeing Ian Miller ride in person.