COVID-19 puts future of CNE in jeopardy, causes millions in losses for event

Published September 3, 2020 at 7:51 pm


TORONTO — The Canadian National Exhibition says the COVID-19 pandemic has put the future of the annual Toronto event in jeopardy.

Organizers behind the 141-year-old summer fair say cancelling the CNE’s in-person events this year to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a $6-million loss.

They estimate they will incur a 95-per-cent drop in projected revenue from cancelling the event and $35 million in lost potential earnings from ticket sales, exhibitor commitments, sponsorships and other income streams.

Organizers warn they may not recover from the losses and may have to permanently cancel the 18-day celebration, which delivers $128 million in economic activity to the province annually.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is willing to help out the event if the federal government and city of Toronto do too, but he did not promise the CNE any specific relief.

The CNE is making due this year with a slew of online activities including a talent competition, gaming tournament and tutorials on how to busk or make CNE favourites like 99-cent spaghetti and rainbow grilled cheese.

The Canadian Press

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