Friday, 17 November 2017

THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR: ONTARIO'S FARMING HERITAGE

HERITAGE MOMENTS

BY: ELEANOR HOWELL-CHRISTENSEN

Photo courtesy of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. 

When we think of Toronto's animals, we're most likely thinking of raccoons, pigeons, rodents, and pets (cats/dogs etc). We're probably not thinking of cows, sheep, alpacas or horses - all of which can be found at the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair which just occurred at Exhibition Place. The Royal (as it's affectionately known) is one of the largest shows of its kind in the world and has been an important part of Toronto's history for the past century. It makes sense, when you think about it: Ontario's First Peoples were agricultural, and upon arriving the European settlers turned much of the area into farmland.

Ontario has a long history with farming, and the Royal is a large-scale celebration of this heritage. Attending for the first time this year, I couldn't help but notice how many museum-like elements there were to the fair. It's essentially one enormous "show and tell" - and isn't that roughly the essence of a museum? The Royal is a two-week demonstration of Ontario's farming heritage, a heritage that you can see, touch and (let's be honest) smell.

I've gathered together some photos of the Royal through the years (the only thing better than pictures of animals are vintage pictures of animals, right?) and if you're interested in learning more about Ontario's agricultural history, Archives of Ontario has compiled a whole page of online resources on the subject.  Let's put aside our skyscrapers and take just a moment to enjoy our province's greener history.

All images are courtesy of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.




















The Royal Agricultural Winter fair occurs every November in Toronto. Next year's dates are November 2-11, 2018. 

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