cne 2020

Doug Ford wants governments to band together to save the CNE

Toronto has been completely rattled by the news that the Canadian National Exhibition, the celebrated carnival that has marked the end of summer in the city for more than 140 years, may be no more after incurring a debilitating loss of more than $35 million in revenue due to the pandemic.

This year was the first time since the Second World War that the CNE has had to be cancelled, with a completely online iteration of the internationally-acclaimed event having to suffice for the 1.5 million-or-so annual visitors who traditionally flock to enjoy its old-school rides, midway games, shopping deals and over-the-top food.

But even one season of such a deficit may be too much for the Ex to handle, with organizers saying on Thursday that the "significant financial loss will impact the future of the fair."

Premier Doug Ford is among the residents now freaking out over the prospect of losing the legendary summer tradition, and implored various levels of government to cooperate to save it during his media briefing today.

"Everyone's gone to the CNE, I'm willing to help out. If the City's willing to help out and we get the feds to help out, we can all pitch in because it's critical that we keep the CNE going," he said.

Ford went on to reminisce about snacking on 25 cent Primo spaghetti and Dubble Bubble bubblegum in the Ex's food building when he was a kid.

"I remember going down to the CNE with $5 or $10, and you'd be down there all day... it was fun, and we need to help it. It's something that we can't let go of, the history of the CNE."

This coming weekend would usually mark the bustling final few days of the event, with the sounds of the Canadian International Air Show serving as a local harbinger of autumn.

Along with the premier, the not-for-profit agricultural organization that administers the CNE is asking for governmental support to continue operating beyond 2021. The financial impact of the cancelled 2020 festivities has represented a staggering loss of $128 million to the province.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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