Canada’s largest fair will not light up this summer. The Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) announced that this year’s CNE will not move forward with its 18-day event slated for August 21 to September 7 at Exhibition Place. The historic decision marks only the second occasion in its 142-year history, and not since WWII, has the CNE closed in its entirety.
“Safety always comes first at the CNE, and the decision to cancel our event is the right decision during this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians,” said John Kiru, President of the CNEA. “We stand in solidarity with the collective effort to curb this global pandemic, and we will all do our part to ensure it happens.”
In close consultation with the provincial and municipal governments, the CNEA Board of Directors voted on May 7 to cancel the event this year out of an abundance of precaution to safeguard the health of its employees, volunteers, visitors, vendors and artists; and its shared responsibility in protecting public safety during this unprecedented health crisis.
“Our hearts go out to the thousands of Canadians and families who have been affected by COVID-19; and we continue to draw hope and inspiration from the bravery of our healthcare and frontline workers, the compassion of everyday heroes, and community spirit that is stronger than ever,” says Kiru. “We believe in the resilience of Torontonians; and know – when the time is right – the CNE will be back.”
The CNE is one of the largest fairs in North America and attracts more than 1.4 million visitors each year. Last year’s highlights included the 3rd annual Gaming Garage presented by AMD, The EX Race obstacle course, Legends of the Silk Road Come to Light indoor lantern festival, and perennial favourites including the President’s Choice SuperDogs, the Canadian International Air Show, and Bandshell Concerts featuring artists including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jann Arden and Walk off the Earth in 2019. The CNE is perhaps best known for its vast array of food offerings, and annual debut of creative dishes such as last year’s pickle pizza and pickle lemonade.
The Canadian International Air Show has jointly cancelled its 2020 show which takes place annually over Lake Ontario on Labour Day Weekend during the final three days of the CNE.
While fans of the CNE won’t be able to enjoy the live experience of The EX in its full capacity this summer, organizers are planning to bring the fun of the fair through creative and innovative ways. Follow @letsgototheex on Twitter, as well as its channels on Facebook and Instagram, and visit the TheEx.com for exciting updates and content in the coming months.