Royal fever

Sheplers. Wranglers. Oversized belt buckles. Stetsons. Polished halters. Braided manes. Glistening tack. Fresh food. Local vinos and craft beers. My favourite weekend of the year is almost here.

Attending the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto has become my late fall tradition. I trade in my stilettos for cowboy boots and get my country on. I spend hours upon hours admiring livestock exhibitors – and I don’t just mean the cowboys – and agricultural displays. I pig out, sometimes literally, then burn off calories by shopping. Not to get all cliché but yes, the Royal truly has something for everyone.

it's all about me; royal agricultural winter fair

The Royal has maintained a traditional fair feel while putting it on a world-class, indoor stage. It’s a show that draws farms and exhibitors from around the world and combines rural with urban.


My time is spent like a ping-pong ball bouncing back and forth between the cattle and horse barns. I have such an appreciation for the commitment that both the young and young at heart put into their animals. They are incredibly proud to show them off.

Agricultural displays aren’t just about farmers. It’s an opportunity for junior farmers to exhibit the skills they have learned over the course of the year. 4-H emphasizes the importance of looking at the big picture; that youth need to see beyond themselves and focus on how their actions affect their relationships, their community, the environment and society as a whole.

The Royal Horse Show features both heavy and light horse competitions. It is the No. 1 ranked indoor equine competition in North America and showcases the talents of the best in national and international competitors. It is a prestigious event with over $800,000 in prize money and of course the title of Royal Champion.

What is fantastic about the Royal is you can get up close and personal with the animals. You can walk through the barns and see firsthand the love and care that goes into each one. Just keep your eyes peeled for patties! When you’re finished touring the barns, head out to watch the competition and judge who you think will win.

it's all about me; royal agricultural winter fair


The eats at the Royal are mouth-watering, deliciousness. From cooking demonstrations to fine dining to traditional fair treats, there is no going home hungry. If you’re like me and the kitchen is your nemesis, you can discover easy, fresh food ideas from talented chefs and local producers.

If you’re looking for a unique date night, check out the The Royal Vineyard and Brew Pub. Food lovers will have a chance to enjoyRoyal Champion cheeses and VQA wines and craft beers at the “cinq a sept” happy hour.

Bringing the family out for a rural adventure? The last thing you’ll hear from your kids is, “there’s nothing to eat here”. There’s even a display that encourages kids to play with their food as they explore the path food takes from farm to the table.

I usually go home with a few extra pounds and taste buds in shock from all of the culinary spoiling that is the Royal.

Good ol’ fun

The Royal tradition started in 1922 when a small group of farmers, eager to catch-up after their busy fall harvest, got together. The only difference between then and now? The Royal has since grown into Canada’s premier event showcasing the best in agricultural, traditional and modern farming, world-class horse show and lots of other entertainment including:

  • President’s Choice Superdogs
  • 4-H rabbit jumping. Seriously. There’s rabbit jumping. Just ask Rick Mercer.
  • Goats on the Go
  • Sheep herding
  • Jack Russell races

While the Royal is a girls getaway for me, it’s pretty awesome to see the light in the kiddos eyes as they take in the magic of the fair. Check out all of the fair highlights here.

Wrapped up in this video is pretty much everything I love about The Royal, minus a few dozen cowboys:


The 92nd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 7-16, 2014 in the Direct Energy Centre and Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.

Exclusive Behind the Scenes Contest

Want to make the Royal a part of your fall tradition? I have an amazing Behind the Scenes Exclusive package to give away. It includes a Family Pass (2 adult & 2 youth passes) to the Royal, valid on any day PLUS on Thursday, November 6 at 9:00 am you will attend an exclusive behind the scenes preview with CEO Sandra Banks, media and special guests. The Family Pass is a $52 value while the Behind the Scenes Exclusive preview and memories created are priceless.


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69 Responses

  1. Dawn

    It’s so much fun to spend time at the Royal, An extra fair as the weather is getting colder. Love all the animals! My son would be over the moon to see the animals especially the babies! AND I might get a chance to see Sarah!!

  2. I love the sights, smells, interactions. Just being in another space with a bunch of people is what does it for me. I don’t even need to see any of the attractions.

    I haven’t been to the fair in about 25 years. Growing up in Toronto we went every.single.year. I loved it. I want to go back but I’m not sure if it’s in the cards this year. We’ll see.

    Can’t wait to read all about your experiences.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

  3. I grew up going to the local agricultural fair (Cloverdale, BC & in Washington state) but I have only been to the Royal once. My niece used to show each year when she was a teen. I need to take the kids more often!!

  4. Brandee H

    I love the energy! Families together. Excitement. Childrens joy. My son loves the cows and horses!! Of course the fair food as well!

  5. inkscrblr

    I haven’t been in years and I am now leaving a second post because I didn’t do it right the first time. My kids would love this. I like the animals and the horses in particular. My DD rides and she would get a kick out of seeing the horses too.

  6. Doug G.

    I love seeing the horses & my kids love the farm animals. I’ve never been to The Royal but it’s on my bucket list of things to do with my family. Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. This post brought back so many memroies of my childhood! My elementary school would go each year (I think the teachers used it as a fun say for themselves, too), and I had a blast! I miss going since I no longer live in Toronto. Maybe I’ll take my kids when they’re a bit older.

  8. T Chatten

    I LOVE the horse shows the most, I grew up taking horseback riding lessons, and miss them dearly. Watching the horse shows just brings back those amazing memories. The second best part would have to be the roast beef on a bun…. those are delicious.

  9. Ed Barrick

    I haven’t been since I was a kid, and to be perfectly honest, if I win I probably won’t go. My ex and her family really enjoy the Royal but don’t always get to go. I would likely send them instead.

  10. I have never been to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, but it sounds like it would be a wonderful way to spend some time with family!

    Good luck to everyone entering the contest!

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