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Historic CNE cancelled for 2020

The Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA) announced todaythat this year’s CNE will not move forward with its 18-day event slated for August 21 to September 7, 2020 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.  “Summer in Toronto will not be the same without the sights and sounds of the CNE, alongside so many annual festivals and cultural events that have been forced to cancel.  We stand in solidarity with the collective effort to curb this global pandemic, and we will all do our part to ensure it happens.”

The CNE is one of the largest fairs in North America and attracts more than 1.4 million visitors each year. 

The CNE has an annual economic impact of more than $128 million on the province of Ontario and $93 million on the Greater Toronto Area, and helps to employ more than 5000 seasonal workers over its 18-day fair.  Click here to view the CNE Infographic.

The Canadian National Exhibition has been a longstanding Ontario tradition since 1879.  Established as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition Association, the event changed its name in 1912 to the Canadian National Exhibition Association to reflect its growing popularity as no longer a local attraction, but a “Show Window to the Nation.”

The CNE has operated almost every year during its 142-year history, including throughout the First World War (1914-1918), when it staged military demonstrations and formations as part of the overall CNE experience.  However, during the Second World War (1942-1945), the CNE was closed when the site was transformed into a Training and Recruitment Centre.  It remained closed in 1946 to allow time for the military to move out.  

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