COVID-19 could be robbing Toronto of one of its most iconic events forever. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is reporting a loss of over $6 million this year, a blow that the organization claims estimates to a whopping 95% drop in revenue. Concerns have been raised about whether the beloved fair could survive past 2021.
According to the CNE’s new release, the event is expecting to lose over $35 million of lost earnings from ticket sales, sponsorships, exhibitor commitments and other sources of funding due to the pandemic.
Because of this, the exhibition isn't sure how much longer they will be able to last.
"Without significant financial investment and relief, the long-term economic viability of Canada’s largest fair is uncertain beyond next year," read the press release.
Executive Director Darrell Brown told the Toronto Star that the event’s 2020 losses would make it impossible to run it beyond next year without money from the government or the City of Toronto.
Although it’s worth noting that the organization remains hopeful that the government would help them with funding for future years.
"My message…to the federal government, provincial government and municipal authorities is that it’s a no-brainer when you look at the economic impact of the fair,” Brown told the Star.
The cancellation marked the first time that the celebrated Toronto fair had been postponed since World War II.
The Canadian International Air Show, which is hosted annually during the last three days of the fair, was also cancelled this year.
Now, the CNE is relying on their fans to get them through the tough times ahead.
“Our road to financial recovery is a long-term proposition; however, we are encouraged by the public support of our fans who have connected with our virtual fair, and are optimistic that visitors will come out to support us again in person next year to help make it a banner year," said John Kiru, President of the CNE Association.
Currently, a virtual fair is taking place to replace the on-site event.