November in Ontario is Royal time. 2020 is the second year in a row that York Durham Headwaters will be attending The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Last year, we tackled the ambitious project of showcasing our region to the world by bringing along some of our best growers, producers and artisans. Everyone involved worked tirelessly to make our first RAWF adventure a success, and the results were amazing. We put our YDHers up against the very best in Canadian agriculture and food, and just as we thought they would, they proved that is exactly where they belonged.
This year, because of COVID-19, The Royal is being held virtually from November 10th to 14th. The best part about it: tickets are free! We are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to show Canada and beyond what YDH has to offer, even if we can’t do it in person. So, read on to find out what’s going on, who will be there and, most importantly, how you can virtually attend the 99th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
The Royal goes virtual
Since 1922, The Royal has been an international celebration of the very best in agriculture, food and equine sport. That’s nearly a century of excellence. In fact, it is the world’s largest indoor agricultural and equestrian show, with more than 300,000 visitors walking through the Princes’ Gates at Toronto’s Exhibition Place in typical years.
However, as we all know, this year is anything but typical, and the decision to cancel the festivities and events was not made lightly. Chief Executive Officer Charlie Johnstone released the following statement: “Over the past several months, we’ve all experienced an unprecedented disruption to our daily lives and are redefining how we live, work and play. Ultimately, our decision is grounded in our commitment to help ensure the health and well-being of our community at large. Our primary responsibility remains rooted in serving our community and protecting the integrity and welfare of all. We understand and appreciate the time, effort and financial commitment required to compete and exhibit at The Royal and did not make this decision without very careful consideration.”
But, where many events and festivals were sadly forced to shut down altogether, The Royal has chosen instead to go virtual. They will instead be providing participants with a unique opportunity to experience everything the fair has to offer from a laptop, tablet, smart phone or desktop. The Royal Pavilion features content representing all four pillars of The Royal including equestrian, agriculture, culinary and education. “Explore exciting careers in agriculture and food within A Place to Grow Presented by University of Guelph or build your personal brand through Grow Your Skills Presented by RBC Future Launch,” the website states. “Learn all about the future of agriculture and food in the Agriculture Zone Presented by Dairy Farmers of Ontario and if you love discovering local food and want to see the best of what’s coming from across Ontario than check out Spotlight on Local Presented by Metro.”
The time-honoured and beloved events that are still taking place at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair are:
- The Royal Horse Show
- Agricultural Competitions
- Food and Lifestyle Events
- Featured Entertainment
- Premium Experiences.
For more information on these and other programmes, visit The Royal online at www.royalfair.org
YDH at The Royal
As we mentioned, last year we brought some of our best growers, producers and artisans with us to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, to show the world that we in York Durham Headwaters are world class. This year, though the festival can’t be held in person, we’re showcasing even more of our businesses and food partners in the new virtual fair. Check out who we’ll be there with:
- Forget-Me-Not Alpacas – www.forgetmenotalpacas.ca
- All or Nothing Brewhouse – www.allornothing.beer
- Banjo Cider – www.banjocider.ca
- Slabtown Cider Company – www.slabtowncider.com
- Am Braigh Farm – www.ambraighfarm.com
- Goodlot Farmstead Brewing – www.goodlot.beer
- Ontario Honey Creations – www.myhoneycreations.com
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is accepting registration for free this year, thanks to the event’s many great sponsors. To reserve your spot, visit https://royalfair.vfairs.com/en/registration.
We hope to see you there!
Story by Katherine Ryalen