1. The Canadian National Exhibition
Despite the shaky economy, more than 1.3 million people—including President Bill Clinton, who addressed a crowd at BMO Field—marked the end of summer with a trip to Canada’s largest fair in 2009. This year’s event runs August 20 to September 6 at Exhibition Place, with an air show on Labour Day weekend.
2. Canadian International Auto Show
A new vision in the automobile industry was the theme for the exhibition February 12 to 21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event—which showcased 1,000 new vehicles and displays about hybrid, advanced diesel, fuel cell, and electric models—kicked off with a gala reception honouring former Formula 1 driver Carroll Shelby, who was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.
3. National Home Show
With more than 700 home and garden exhibitors showcasing their wares and the Eurodale Dream Home, this is Canada’s largest home show. The event, which attracts close to 160,000, took place February 19 to 28 at the Direct Energy Centre.
4. Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Since its inception in 1922, the Royal has become the world’s largest indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition. The 88th annual fair, which includes the Royal Horse Show, will take place at the Direct Energy Centre from November 5 to 14.
5. Toronto Sportsmen’s Show
After 63 years at Exhibition Place, Canada’s biggest fishing and outdoor show moved to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 17 to 21. The event, which attracts 125,000 visitors featured more than 450 exhibitors and events like the Big Dog Air Show and the Yamaha Riding Academy for Kids.
6. Toronto International Boat Show
The boat show sailed into the Direct Energy Centre from January 9 to 17 with more than 1,500 boats and hundreds of booths showcasing the newest engines, electronics, and marine accessories. The show attracts more than 90,000 visitors annually.
7. Canadian Gift & Tableware Association Gift Show
The Toronto International Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre hosted this popular show from January 31 to February 4. The gift show draws more than 16,500 retail buyers and 930 exhibitors. The fall show takes place August 8 to 12.
8. Interior Design Show
Canada’s largest contemporary design event, held January 21 to 24 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre showcased products from more than 300 exhibitors along with a design challenge that saw four teams create their visions of the ultimate space.
9. Cottage Life Show
With 475 cottage-related exhibits, this show—held in the spring and fall at the International Centre—aims to provide consumers with everything they’ll need for their lakeside retreats. The spring show is set for March 26 to 28; the fall edition takes place in November.
10. One of a Kind Show and Sale
More than 800 artisans showcased their wares—gourmet food, art, fashion, toys, crafts—at the 2009 Christmas show. In 2010, the Direct Energy Centre hosts the spring show from March 31 to April 4 and the Christmas show from November 25 to December 5.
11. Green Living Show
This three-day expo, set for April 23 to 25 at the Direct Energy Centre, includes some 400 exhibitors and attracts more than 20,000 consumers. Attractions include a green business forum, the Earth Run, farm-fresh fare, and the Green Toronto Awards, hosted this year by Ed Begley Jr.