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Royal Winter Fair: It's more than just animals

11/10/2014 05:36 EST | Updated 01/10/2015 05:59 EST
Ninety-five years ago, a cattle farmer from Brooklin, Ont., had an idea to establish the first national agricultural exhibition, showcasing the best in Canadian farming and livestock.

W.A. Dryden and a group of committed Canadian farmers set up a committee in 1918 that would eventually lead to the formation of the Agricultural Winter Fair Association of Canada. The name later adopted the word "Royal" when King George V of England granted permission for its use.

On Nov. 22, 1922, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair opened for the first time and remains the premier agricultural fair in the country.

It has since expanded to include The Royal Horse show, culinary events and a wine competition.

"Back in 1922 when the Royal started, rail cars came from both sides of Canada into this very place to show cattle against one another. It was a unifying factor back in the 1920s," said Peter Hohenadel, the fair's director of agriculture and food. 

"We have 5,000 animals that will come into our building over the next 10 days, but the fair is also about culinary competitions, shopping, education, food and agriculture. It’s evolved over the years, but it’s still kept that core and pride of agriculture."

This year's fair runs through Sunday at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

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