November 4-13, 2022
Purebred Dogs made a triumphant return to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. From November 4th to 13th, 2022, purebred dogs rocked the Royal’s 100th Anniversary: A Century of Champions Celebration!
From back-to-back dog shows to a “Meet the Breeds” booth and even a Scent Detection demonstration, Canada’s purebred dogs were definitely welcomed back warmly!
The last time there was a dog show at the Royal was in 1998, The Royal Dog Show and the President’s Choice International. This spectacular event, organized by Mike Macbeth was a high budget show that attracted 21 dogs that were Top Dog in their home countries, plus a Crufts Best in Show winner, 2 Westminster Best in Show Winners and a SICALAM winner. The committee even commissioned famous sculptor, Bill Lishman, to do a huge wire statue of Canada’s extinct Taltan Bear Dog so large that people could actually walk under it.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a celebrated event in Toronto that has been happening since 1922. After the First World War, a collective of notable farmers and horsemen got together to plan an exhibition of Canada’s finest agricultural wares. 1
Led by shorthorn cattleman, the group believed strongly in Canada’s ability to compete at a world-class level. 2
They solicited and received full support from all three levels of government and was granted the Royal moniker by King George V of England. 3
The fair became and continues to be a much anticipated yearly event in the city.
It now takes place at the Enercare Centre on the Exhibition grounds right by Lake Ontario. The venue is enormous – over one million square feet and every part of the building is in use for the Royal Fair each November.
Meet the Breeds
The Communications Manager for the Canadian Kennel Club, Heather Parsons and I organized a Meet the Breeds booth, which took place from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day of the Royal. We had over 35 different breeds participate and the reaction from the public was wonderful! Tons of questions, lots of pets and so many “I’ve never seen a dog like this before” comments.
We printed off postcards for each breed that participated to be handed out to those who visited the booth. The cards featured a photo on the front and breed facts on the back along with helpful links to learn more. We also put the Puppy List’s website there so that those hoping to add a puppy to their home can connect with Canadian Kennel Club member breeders.
From Mastiffs to Dandie Dinmont Terriers, the Meet the Breeds booth offered an interactive opportunity for the public to learn as well as to make connections with a variety of purebred dogs. The various demonstrations (including disc dog, agility, movie star tricks, grooming, and scent detection) showed the value and versatility of our wonderful purebred dogs.
I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers from breed clubs, the CKC staff member volunteers, and the individual owners whose breeds don’t currently have a club who organized a group to attend. These folks came from near and far. They really helped make some great memories of the Royal.
Two dog shows took place over the first 6 days of the Royal this year. First was the Credit Valley Kennel
and Obedience Dog Show (November 4-6), followed by the Olde York Kennel Club Dog Show (November 7-9).
Hundreds of dogs were exhibited, Judges were flown in from across Canada and the United States, and the Royal had the event set up beautifully in the Animal Theatre. The space featured several blue carpeted rings, a set up area complete with its own entrance for exhibitors where outside ex pens were incredibly close.
I had the pleasure of going on the microphone and introducing the public to our purebred breeds in both the Group and Best in Show rings during the Olde York Kennel Club show. I told some historic facts and a bit of information on each breed’s personality, grooming requirements, exercise needs, etc. I also explained how a dog show works. It seemed to have kept quite a few people entertained. Many members of the public thanked me for explaining what was going on and for letting them know “what kind of dog that was”. Some even followed me from ring to ring throughout the day!
Having purebred dogs at the Royal again was huge. I’m all about “planting seeds”. Over 300,000 people attend the Royal each year.4
Apart from the adults that got to meet fantastic, well-breed dogs, see demonstrations and watch a dog show, thousands of children and teenagers got to experience purebred dogs.
It’s very common for youth in the Greater Toronto Area to attend to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair each year. If not with their family, then with their school on a field trip. If thousands of kids see a dog show, watch a demonstration showcasing purebred dog’s incredible skills and interact with a bunch of purebred dogs every year for several years, what are the chances that some of those children will eventually want to promote and protect purebred dogs? Very good, in my opinion.
I can say with my hand over my heart that each and every person I spoke with who participated in the dog shows at the Royal, the Meet the Breeds booth, or in the demonstrations told me that they had a wonderful time. Each person I spoke with told me that they are definitely going back to the Royal next year and I’m also very much looking forward to it already.
Some things I would like to see different should we be invited back to the Royal next year including having commentators throughout all six shows in order to grab the audience’s attention as well as have multiple breeds at the Meet the Breeds booth throughout the Royal so that people can see and compare a few different breeds while having that great interaction with the dogs and their owners. We have reached out to the incredible Meet the Breeds volunteers and asked for their feedback so that we can make future events even better.
I definitely hope we will be at the Royal in 2023.
1 The Royal https://www.royalfair.org/
2 The Royal https://www.royalfair.org/
3 The Royal https://www.royalfair.org/
4 The Royal https://www.royalfair.org/