One of Toronto’s most thrilling summer (CNE) attractions NO MORE?
TORONTO — The CNE needs $11 million to survive to 2022, its executive director says
The City of Toronto has cancelled all major in-person events for a second straight summer due to COVID-19, it confirmed Friday.
A petition to keep the Canadian National Exhibit (CNE) in business has collected more than 6,000 signatures as the organization threatens to close its doors amid financial strain after 142 years in business.
The exhibition was set to take place from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6, 2021, but after being cancelled for the second year in a row, the CNE says it’s “facing huge financial pressure” and that it’s “at risk of being unable to host another fair.”
The petition, started by City of Toronto councillor Mike Layton, calls on the provincial and federal government to immediately contribute $5.5 million each to the CNE.
“The popularity of the 18-day fair makes a significant economic contribution to the economy of the GTA and province, generating $93.1M and $128.3M respectively,” the petition says.
The 2021 CNE was cancelled on Friday, May 14th, along with all of Toronto’s other major celebrations and festivals this summer.
At the time of publication, the petition was just over 500 signatures away from its goal of 7000.
Founded in 1879, the CNE is Canada’s largest community event and welcomes over 1.5 million visitors every year.
The fair was cancelled for the first time since World War II in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Exactly what this year’s event will look like is still uncertain, and depends on what the regulations and restrictions are at the time.
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Darrell Brown, Executive Director of the CNE, said while expected, the news is devastating for the community and staff who are bracing for “massive” layoffs.
“At this point in time we’re living on borrowed money in the short-term and will be completely out of funds by December,” Brown told CBC News.
The normally self-sustaining event has lost more than $70 million in revenue over the course of the pandemic, said Brown. It cut expenses by 86 per cent, but still needs about $11 million to survive to 2022.
Mayor John Tory told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that he believes the city will be in much better place by the late summer, but he’s not sure it will safe to be “shoulder to shoulder” with huge groups of people.
Waiting until the last minute to cancel events would also draw criticism, he said.
Last CNE Summer Exhibition (2019) before the Pandemic
Here is the actual video of the last CNE summer exhibition in Toronto before the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic strike.