Premier Kathleen Wynne helps close another successful Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne helped The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair draw its 92nd season to a close Sunday after another successful year bringing country life to the heart of the city and connecting families with farming and food experiences in fresh new ways.
"The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is such a great opportunity to bring us closer to the food we eat and the people who produce it," said Premier Wynne. "Walking around the Fair gives people a real sense of why food and agriculture are so important to Ontario's economy and way of life."
Thousands of visitors, competitors and exhibitors attended The Royal during its 10-day run from November 7-16 at the Direct Energy Centre and Ricoh Coliseum, enjoying an expanded line-up of activities and entertainment that focus on Farm fresh Fun™.
"We had another fantastic season celebrating our country's deep agricultural roots and helping people of all ages and backgrounds experience the best in Canadian agriculture and fresh, local foods," said Sandra Banks, CEO of The Royal.
The Royal's closing weekend featured the culmination of the TSC Stores Road to The Royal Chef Challenge. The travelling chef competition visited six regional fairs across Ontario over the summer and fall, challenging local culinary talent to come up with inspired dishes incorporating "secret" local ingredients in tight time frames. The Egg Farmers of Ontario are a supporting sponsor.
The finals Saturday on The Royal's new Food & Lifestyle Stage featured two winning chefs from the regional fairs — Chef Brett Pottruff from Forks Restaurant at The Arlington Hotel in Paris and Scott McRae of David's Restaurant in Port Dover — against the finalist from the Toronto division, Chef Tom Wade of Farmhouse Tavern.
Earning the title of Royal Chef Champion was Chef Pottruff with help from sous James Griesser from Forks Restaurant at The Arlington Hotel in Paris, who served up an entree and dessert incorporating secret ingredient Wild Rice from Northern Ontario and fresh Honey Crisp Apples provided by Ontario Apple Growers.
Another highlight from a busy final weekend at The Royal was a special pre-Christmas visit from Santa Claus, along with a team of real reindeer. Children and families got to spend time with the visitors from the North Pole in the President's Choice Animal Theatre.
Always a popular ticket on closing weekend, The Royal Horse Show Saturday night showcased Olympic-calibre show jumpers in the The GroupBy Big Ben Challenge. The evening also featured the Hackney Horse World Championship and the crowd favorite Royal Championship Six Horse Hitch.
Over the course of its 10-day run, The Royal featured hundreds of competitors and performers, ranging from families that have been participating in The Royal's competitions for generations, to top chefs from across North America and top entertainers like horseman Guy McLean and Amber Marshall, star of CBC's Heartland.
"It's important to remember that along with all of the great entertainment and fun activities, The Royal also an important business venue. It's a competition for people who devote their lives to agriculture to put the food they grow and the animals they raise up against the country's best," Banks said.
The popularity of The Royal also generates a significant economic impact for the Toronto area and the province. The Royal enjoys more than 300,000 visits over 10 days each fall, generating more than $42.4 million in economic activity.
Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.
About The Royal:
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show. This year, 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.
Image with caption: "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal meeting rabbits and guinea pigs at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Sunday. (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141116_C5968_PHOTO_EN_8110.jpg
SOURCE: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
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