Visiting the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair

One of the common responses I’ve been hearing each time I tell someone that I recently went to Toronto’s Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is “Wow,  I haven’t been to that since I was a kid!”  I can see why families would go and take their children…these days, in the big city, that’s pretty much the only way to expose them to farm animals and agriculture…but there’s something for everyone and I had a really good time wandering around the site.

There were huge sections dedicated solely to sheep, cows and horses. In the cow portion of the fair, we watched as people did their best to catch waste from the bovines in buckets  as it appeared. Lesson learned.  Next time you feel the need to complain about your job, just remember that it could be worse.  Somewhere, there’s a person whose job is to catch cow pee in a big white bucket.

We passed by some two-month-old calves and I expressed to desire to pat one.  Ben suggested I scratch a little one behind its ears and the calf loved it!  So cute…bunting my hand just like my cats at home.

I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of everything….but I managed to capture some highlights of the experience 🙂

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There were many, many more vendors and craft booths than I expected, and not all of them were focused on farming, animal care and riding (although many were serving those demographics).   There were dozens of food booths including yummy cheese companies, cultural foods such as Thai and Indian cuisine, and the notorious Apple Dumpling booth that I didn’t get to visit.  I tried my very first bison burger and I have to say it was yummy and filling!

Other interesting notable food related booths that I feel the need to mention are the Boreal Birch Syrup booth and the Muskoka Lakes Winery booth.

The birch syrup was an interesting product.  Not as thick as maple syrup and not very sweet at all, it was described as having a sort of prune taste.  I know, doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but that really doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the flavour.  The man behind the counter said it worked well as a glaze on vegetables etc and as soon as he said that, I had to agree.  It would be delicious on steamed veg.  They have some recipes on their site and now I wish I had bought a bottle.  There is a store in Toronto that carried it and as well, they apparently deliver! 😀

The Muskoka Lakes Winery I mention because I absolutely love their wines!  They carry a large variety of cranberry wines and among my favourites are their Cranberry-Blueberry and their White Cranberry wines.  I also presently own a bottle of both their Raspberry-Cranberry and their Maple-Cranberry dessert wines that are just waiting for the right moment to be opened.  Some friends and I discovered the winery by chance when we were spending the weekend in Bala almost two years ago, it’s an awesome place to visit, not only for good wine, but also for lovely hiking trails and an interesting/educational view of the cranberry fields.  Sadly, I’m finding it harder and harder to find their wines at the LCBOs that I pass on a daily basis.  Trip to Bala anyone? 🙂

Lastly, I want to mention the lovely woman I met at the Gateway Fibreworks yarn booth.  We had an interesting discussion about wool.  Unlike alpaca wool that is generally lanolin and chemical free, sheep wool naturally contains lanolin and goes through a number of chemical treatments.  It was suggested that most reactions are due to the chemicals, not necessarily the wool.  We had the chance to truly test this as a friend who was on site with me is extremely allergic to wool.  Just a touch causes her to break out.  After this conversation, she purposely rubbed the back of her hand on a few different alpaca wool samples and as far as I know, she hasn’t noticed a reaction.

I too am sensitive to wool, although it pretty much just makes me itchy, and I found alpaca wool to be softer to the touch that sheep wool.  Perhaps that will be my next crocheting yarn purchase! 😀

Anyway, the Winter Fair was fun and isn’t only for kids.  At one point, Ben took the time to sit with an employee who was surveying people on site about their experience.  She commented that the 25-35 age group, our age group, seems to be the least represented in their attendance and asked us for suggestions to draw in those individuals.  We both responded that an 18yrs+ day could work 😛 but also helpful is reading a blog entry about a great experience…and so I have done.


1 Comment

  1. […] The Stampede wasn’t remotely what I expected! There was SO much going on, so much to see, it was fun!…in many ways it reminded me of the Toronto Royal Winter Agricultural Fair, only bigger. […]

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