Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – Walk with the Animals

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10 Nov Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – Walk with the Animals

Sometimes I fail as a food blogger. While I attended the Canadian Culinary Book Awards at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair last Friday, surrounded by award winning cookbook authors and the biggest names in Canadian Cuisine, my camera sat safely in the media room.

And when I retrieved my camera for the post-ceremony reception, the room was too crowded to take a shot. So I elbowed my way from food station to food station with a bulky point-and-shoot pressing into my sternum for no good reason at all.

Once the festivities were over, I did manage to tour the Fair and put my poor squashed camera to use. For those who aren’t familiar with The Royal, it’s the world’s largest indoor agricultural fair set in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Each year,  more than a quarter of a million visitors flock to see the horse show, food exhibits, giant pumpkins and farm animals. This year, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall toured The Royal on opening day, which added to the excitement —  and the traffic.

Without any time pressure, I wandered the stalls and talked to the animals and their owners. I learned a few things along the way, especially that I know very little about animals. Sorry Diva, there are no baby llamas this time, but for those who can’t resist four-legged creatures, here’s a glimpse of my non-foodie time at the Fair.


The exhibits featured the very small

Day Old Chicks

Day-old chicks

And the very big.

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First Prize Giant Pumpkin

Imagine losing out to the 1241.7 pound pumpkin…

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A 1241.6 pound pumpkin. How much is that in pies?

They came in pairs…

Two Llamas

Two Llamas

And by the dozen (okay, there are nine, but who’s counting).

Four day old piglets

Four-day-old piglets

They came with big ears…

Some sort of goat whose breed I forget

Some sort of goat whose breed I forget

And  no ears.

LaMancha Goats - An affectionate breed with no external ears

LaMancha Goats - An affectionate breed with no external ears

Where else, but The Royal, would you see a pig scarfing coffee?

I said I wanted a double-double!

I said I wanted a double-double!

Or sheep dressed up for Halloween?

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Actually, I'm keeping clean before the big show...

Or the most ironic sign on earth?

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Sheep owners claim their animals are more intelligent than dogs. Discuss...

Or rainbow coloured chickens

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According to the owner, there silkies are coloured with fruit juice and enjoy the process because they like being given a bath.

In all, I took 129 shots. Of all the animals I saw that day, this little kid won me over, so I’ll end with him.

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Just kidding around.

Back to food tomorrow…

No Comments
  • Hilda
    Posted at 11:16h, 10 November Reply

    Thanks for the mini-tour. It felt almost like I was there, and it made me smile.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:55h, 12 November Reply

      It is hard to see these animals without getting all mushy. In the petting area, the little kids and small woolly sheep are so adorable I wanted to take one home with me. Don’t think that would go over big with my husband or the furniture.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:55h, 12 November Reply

      It is hard to see these animals without getting all mushy. In the petting area, the little kids and small woolly sheep are so adorable I wanted to take one home with me. Don’t think that would go over big with my husband or the furniture.

  • Susan Hoffman
    Posted at 11:38h, 10 November Reply

    Many thanks for the wonderful pictures. We love going to The Royal, and hopefully will make it this weekend. If not, these pictures will be a great substitution.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:55h, 12 November Reply

      Hope you make it to the Royal. It’s definitely worth the trek into downtown T.O.

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 12:20h, 10 November Reply

    AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I’m torn between the little yellow chicks, the rainbow chicks, and piglet bums — which is cuter??? I could never pick!

    There’s a website devoted to cute animal shots… I wish I could remember the url, but I’d say you’ve got several contenders.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:57h, 12 November Reply

      I think that site is Cute Overload? Definitely the right description for the petting area.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:32h, 11 November Reply

    The cuteness, the cuteness! Its overwhelming! I’m particularly charmed by that dressed up sheep and that sweet little kid. I want to cuddle him … or her!?!

    I’m also relieved to learn that the brightly colored chickens were dyed with fruit juice!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:06h, 12 November Reply

      Those chickens were unbelievable. They’re silkies and have “fluff” instead of feathers. As the owner said, “If it will stain a white T-shirt, it will stain them.” And he assured me that the chickens weren’t just neutral on the process — they loved it.

      Who am I to argue with a guy who not only thinks to dye chickens with fruit juice but follows through with it?

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 13:34h, 11 November Reply

    Oh my god, Diva is a genius! She jogged my memory with her comment: http://cuteoverload.com/ is the website I was referring to. You should submit!

  • hathead
    Posted at 14:03h, 17 March Reply

    i think the goat with the ears is a nubian mountain goat. i had one when i was a kid (a human kid).

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