The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is Canada’s largest community event and one of the top 10 agricultural fairs in North America. Founded in 1879 as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, the CNE has enjoyed a distinguished history as a showcase of the nation. People came to experience the latest innovations in technology and commercial products, to enjoy the popular entertainers of the time, and to engage in a collective community celebration.
Although the CNE has changed significantly over the years, it continues to be one of Ontario’s great annual traditions and an event that offers substantial entertainment value for money. Taking place over the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day, it is affectionately embraced as an end-of-summer ritual by more than 1.3 million visitors annually, visitors who reflect the rich diversity of Toronto and the region.
The CNE is produced by the Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA), which is a not-for-profit Agricultural Society, incorporated by the Legislature of Ontario. The CNEA and its volunteer Board of Directors operate under the jurisdiction of two provincial acts: An Act respecting the Canadian National Exhibition, and the Agricultural & Horticultural Organizations Act of Ontario.
The CNEA is made up of more than 125 individuals and member associations, who represent the four founding pillars of the organization: Agriculture, General & Liberal Arts, Municipal, and Manufacturers & Industry. Member associations appoint a representative to the Canadian National Exhibition Association and 15 individuals are appointed directly by the Association itself from the community-at-large. The CNEA has member organizations from a wide variety of sectors ranging in scope from the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies to the Canadian Bar Association to the Greater Toronto Hotel Association.
In 2013, the CNEA became organizationally independent of Exhibition Place and the City of Toronto. In the years ranging from 1983 to March 2013, the CNEA maintained its status as an Agricultural Society and was also a program of Exhibition Place, a board of management of the City of Toronto. During this time, all CNEA surpluses and deficits were absorbed by Exhibition Place and the City of Toronto.
The CNEA is financially stable and is not dependent on government subsidy. The Association’s new independent status enables it to retain the revenues it generates and to reinvest them in the fair.