About the Royal

We’re so happy to welcome you back in-person for 2022! Join us for the 100th Anniversary of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. This November discover, learn and celebrate ‘A Century of Champions’!

Today The Royal has grown to be the largest indoor agricultural and equestrian event in the world.The Royal Horse Show is one of the world’s finest equestrian spectacles and attracts athletes from across the planet. A win at The Royal means something, regardless of whether you’re pickling, jamming, raising beef or driving six-horse hitches. Every year, 300,000 people come to The Fair to celebrate the very best food, livestock and horsemanship this country has to offer.

A Royal History

Since 1922, the country has come to the city as farmers, growers, producers and homesteaders have come from all over Canada to exhibit their very best agricultural products and livestock. After the First World War, a collective of notable farmers and horsemen got together to plan an exhibition of Canada’s finest agricultural wares. Led by shorthorn cattleman, W.A. Dryden the group believed strongly in Canada’s ability to compete at a world-class level. Lacking no ambition, the group solicited and received full support from all three levels of government and was granted the Royal moniker by King George V of England.

Building of the Royal Coliseum – a landmark structure that still helps to greet people on their way into Toronto to this day – would commence in early 1921 in advance of the first Fair that November. Unfortunately, construction delays would prevent the facilities from being ready in time and the 1921 Fair would be postponed until the following year. Despite the early stumble, that 1922 Fair was a resounding success, beating all projections. It firmly established The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair as one of the world’s best.

Meet our Board

Shelley Peterson

President and Chair of the Board

Charlie Johnstone

Chief Executive Officer

Ari Ekstein

Co-Chair, Agriculture & Food Committee

Willa Gauthier

Co-Chair, Royal Horse Show

Iain Gilmour

Past Chair, Royal Horse Show

Crystal Mackay


Ray Stanton

Vice President & Co-Chair, Finance Committee

Robert J. Flack

Past President

Mary McKee

Co-Chair, Finance Committee


Beth Underhill


Michael Bonacini

Chair, Culinary & Hospitality Committee

Joe Parker


Derek Watchorn

Co-Chair, Royal Horse Show