The largest indoor agricultural and equestrian event in the world has taken place in Canada for a century and continues to this day. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair began in 1922 and has taken place in Toronto almost every year since then. The Royal Canadian Mint commemorates the 100th anniversary of the fair with a new $30 silver coin.
Events at the Fair
The purpose of the fair is to allow farmers and producers to exhibit crops and livestock, as well as crafts, such as jams and pickles, that they have made from their harvests. Livestock exhibits include over 6,000 animals per year, including cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep. There are also exhibitions for fancy birds and rabbits. Farmers and gardeners display their crops and enter them in competitions. No matter the category, competitors all seek to win the coveted rosettes that represent the best.
Not everyone who comes to the fair is an exhibitor. Altogether, the fair draws over 300,000 people per year. Visitors come from all across Canada and even some other countries. Fair attendees get to interact with some of the animals at the petting zoo; enjoy educational exhibits such as the amazing Food Journey, and sample different foods.
Since its inception, the cornerstone of the fair has been the Royal Horse Show. This event draws some of the biggest stars, both riders and horses, of the equestrian world, from Canada as well as other countries. As the North American Fall Circuit’s final leg, it is a world-class competition of equestrianism.
History of the Fair
The idea for an exhibition of the finest agricultural wares in Canada came from a collective of farmers and horsemen following World War I. Believing strongly in the ability of producers to compete at a world-class level, the group successfully solicited support from all three government levels and received permission from King George V to use the Royal moniker in its name. Members of the Royal Family have appeared at the fair as honoured guests and, during her reign, Queen Elizabeth II served as the royal patron.
The fair was first scheduled for 1921, and the Royal Coliseum was built specifically for that purpose. Unfortunately, due to unavoidable delays in installing the new heating system, the first exhibition had to be pushed back to 1922.
Since then, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has taken place every year with a few noticeable exceptions. It was cancelled during the years of World War II and then again in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the event is scheduled to take place in person in 2022, just in time for the 100th anniversary.
Design of the Winter Coin From the Royal Canadian Mint
Designed by Glen Green, the reverse of the coin features images representative of the memorable experiences visitors have at the fair. Livestock, including a cow, sheep, horse, and chicken, appear along the bottom of the coin. Along the sides are images of agricultural crops including corn, wheat, and a basket of fruits and vegetables. In the middle of the coin are a rider and horse competing in the Royal Horse Show. Just above the rider, though slightly in the background, is one of the Royal rosettes that all competitors hope to take home from the exhibition. The design of the rosette and the text on the coin’s reverse is done in an Art Deco style to represent the 1920s when the first Royal Agricultural Winter Fair took place.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is also featured on a five-dollar coin in the Moments To Hold series of commemorative Canadian coins.
Precious Memories of the Fair Preserved
The $30 silver coin commemorating the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair allows you to relive past memories and share them with others. Find it for sale at Colonial Acres.