The annual fair was scheduled to take place from August 21 to September 7 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.
“Safety always comes first at CNE, and the decision to cancel our event is the right decision at this critical time to protect the health of all Canadians,” said John Kiru, President of the Canadian National Exhibition Association, in a statement.
“We stand in solidarity with the collective effort to stem this global pandemic, and we will all do our part to make it happen. “
Kiru said the decision was made on May 7 in collaboration with provincial and municipal governments.
The Canadian International Air Show also canceled its 2020 show, which usually takes place on Labor Day weekend during the last three days of the CNE.
“These are some of the sacrifices we face as a society,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford at a press conference on Tuesday.
“We all grew up there,” said Ford, recounting long days spent at CNE when he was young. “I’m going to miss it.” “
Toronto Mayor John Tory also praised the organizers for making the “responsible choice”.
Organizers say the CNE generates $ 128 million for Ontario’s economy each year and attracts more than 1.4 million visitors.
The fair also employs more than 5,000 seasonal workers during its duration.
The Canadian National Exhibition announced today that its board of directors had made the right decision, in my opinion, to cancel this year’s CNE and I would like to thank them for making this responsible choice in the face of COVID- 19.
Tory acknowledged the loss of the local economy, but also said that a year off offered an “opportunity to rethink” the CNE.
“I would like to see something that goes back to the roots of the original CNE,” he said, describing the early days of the fair as it was used to display the latest Canadian innovations, technologies and agriculture.
Tory lamented the emergence of outrageous and decadent food as one of the defining features of the event in recent years.
“It’s great fun to have the double waffle, the double pancake, the bacon jam, the burger with cognac maple syrup, but at the end of the day, we are much more than that,” he said. -he declares.
The annual fair, in its many incarnations, has been a staple of Toronto summers almost every year since its first edition in 1879.
The CNE was last canceled when the fairground was converted into a military training and recruiting center from 1942 to 1945.
The event was closed in 1946 to allow time for the military to leave.