For those of you who have never been to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, it can be hard to imagine the urban setting of Exhibition Place in Toronto where it is staged. It is just blocks away from downtown Toronto and sits on the shore of Lake Ontario. The Direct Energy Centre is home to trade shows throughout the year, but for ten days in early November it is totally given over to agriculture. Dairy, beef, sheep, goats, poultry, rabbits and, of course, horses are all judged at some point during the ten-day show.
Agricultural products like butter, cheese, honey, maple syrup, vegetables and jams & jellies also compete as well as square dancing, although I have to admit I have never seen the judging of the square dancers.
The beautiful entry hall of the Direct Energy Centre.
The exhibit hall is full of shop stalls, trade booths and food vendors.
Of course, our main interest was the dairy cattle, but the Horse Show is the biggest draw and the biggest commercial aspect of the Royal. Anything and everything you could want dealing with horses, from saddles to clothing to artwork, you can find somewhere here.
The Holstein Show takes place in the Ricoh Coliseum. This is the main show ring on the grounds – also where the Horse Show takes place. It””””””””””””””””s a bit disconcerting at first as the surface level of the ring is below you even if you are at rail side, but you get used to it pretty quickly.
Like the show ring at Madison, this facility is also a hockey arena in the winter months – home of the Toronto Marlies (the American Hockey League affiliate of the Toronto Maples Leafs). As such, there is the big screen scoreboard showing the classes and the results in both English and French.
The Royal show is the National Holstein Show of Canada. The event ran smoothly throughout both days thanks to the efforts of the Holstein Canada, Ontario Holstein and Quebec Holstein staffs and, of course, lots of volunteers.
This year, there was also a Red & White Show for the first time, so the Holsteins parading in the ring were all of the Black & White variety. In order to accommodate an extra dairy show, the schedule for the Holstein show was rearranged for this year with the heifer show on Thursday and the cow show on Friday as opposed to the Friday/Saturday schedule of years past. The show also started pretty early both days – 7:00am for the heifer show (and earlier yet if you wanted to get a good seat!). Pictured below is the winning Senior Calf – Sunspark Laramie Doobie – owned by Futurecrest Holsteins.
The winning summer yearling was a heifer we were familiar with from the day before – Kingsway Dundee Abra Codabra – an $80,000 sale topper from the Royal Exhilaration Sale. Abra Codabra was one of the youngest heifers in the class – born July 6, 2006 – yet took home the red ribbon (the first-place ribbon color in Canada).
It””””””””””””””””s not the greatest picture, but the winning Senior Yearling and eventual Junior Champion, Parile Jasper Rosanna displayed a remarkable combination of size and balance as she glided her way to Champion honors.
The HM All-Canadian Senior Calf from last year, Rosanna is a delightful result of North American breeding. She was bred in Quebec by Ferme Parile from four generations of Craigcrest dams (a Master Breeder herd in Ontario) and then her pedigree extends back into the Tikvah and Rinehart herds of the eastern US. Reviewing her sire stack is a quick trip down memory lane of some Holstein greats: Jasper, Igniter, Rudolph, Lindy, Triple Threat, Sexation, Glendell, Fond Matt, Elevation, Ivanhoe.
Reserve Junior Champion Mibelson Goldwyn Hazur – the winning Intermediate Yearling owned by Chilliwack Cattle Co. & R&F Livestock, Inc.
Judge Martin Roberge and Associate Judge Claude Lafrance did an efficient job of sorting through the sizeable heifer classes and the first day was completed by shortly after noon. This gave people the chance to go through the barns and exhibits or to catch most of the National Red & White Show that began at 11:30am in the smaller Ring of Excellence just steps away from the cattle barn.
I didn””””””””””””””””t get to see much of the Red & White show, but here is the Grand Champion – Parile Kite Alicia – the winning Senior Three-Year-Old and Intermediate Champion exhibited by the show””””””””””””””””s Premier Exhibitor, Deslacs Holsteins. With the same prefix as the Junior Champion of the Holstein Show, it obviously was quite a successful year at the Royal for Ferme Parile, Inc. of St. Francois, Quebec!
For more complete coverage of the Holstein Show – both placings and photos – please visit the 2007 Fall Show Results section of www.semex.com.
Next: The Royal Cow Show – the final day!