Fonds RG 1 - Agriculture Department fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Agriculture Department fonds

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Canadian National Exhibition, Agriculture Department fonds

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code

ON00421 RG 1

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1939-1982, predominant 1946-1982 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

6.1 m of textual records 966 photographs 3 scrapbooks 48 plans 10 prize ribbons

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Canadian National Exhibition, originally called the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, was founded in 1879 for the purpose of promoting agriculture, industry and the arts. From the outset, the agricultural events featured at the annual fair were administered by various committees. In the 1880s, for instance, there was a Horse Committee, a Cattle Committee, a Sheep and Pig Committee, an Agricultural Products Committee, and so on. Eventually, these committees were drawn together and coordinated by an overarching Agriculture Department.

Unfortunately, no unpublished records exist regarding the activities and achievements of the Agriculture Department prior to the Second World War. Researchers interested in agricultural events at the CNE before the 1940s should consult published records, such as the CNE programmes and annual reports. The CNE was closed from 1942 to 1946 when the grounds were used by the Canadian Military.

The records in RG 1 cover the period from 1946 to 1982. During this time the Agriculture Department's operations were extensive: it administered the annual CNE livestock shows and competitions; oversaw the rental of agricultural exhibit space in the Horticulture Building and the commercial exhibit space in the Coliseum; managed the Woodcarving Exhibit (from 1977 on) and several junior competitions; and organized the Miss CNE: Queen of the Fairs and Dairy Princess pageants. The department also communicated and worked with the Provincial and Federal Agriculture Ministries, with various national and international breed societies, as well as with local agricultural organizations. These societies and organizations contributed a large portion of the prize money and awards offered to competitors at the CNE.

The Department was, and still is, organized around various committees responsible for setting standards, rules and deadlines for competitions and exhibits, establishing prize money, adding, deleting and changing classes, classifications and prizes, communicating with outside organizations, and recommending judges, superintendents and veterinarians.

The members of the committees are drawn from the governing body of the CNE, the Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA), as well as from various societies and organizations with an interest in agriculture. The Manager of the Agriculture Department, an employee hired from outside the CNEA, was, and is, responsible for coordinating the Department's various efforts, and attends to general administrative duties. The manager also performs consultative work for other agricultural events such as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Managers of the Agriculture Department have been: Sam Foster (1943-1954), J.N. Perdue (1954-1968), Frank A. Wolff (1968-1971), John Wiley (1971-1972) and Ross T. Farr (1972-1982).

The Agriculture Department's responsibilities have undergone very few changes between 1946 and 1982. Since the early days of the CNE the agriculture program has provided one of the most important attractions of the annual fair, although agriculture itself has lost much of its significance in contemporary urban-industrial Canadian society.

Custodial history

The records comprising RG 1 were created by the Agriculture Department of the Canadian National Exhibition from 1934 to 1982. No documentation is available regarding the time or circumstances of the physical transfer of the records from the creating office to the Exhibition Place Archives, the transfer of legal custody and control to the Archives, or the acceptance of the records by the Archives. The records have been situated at the Exhibition Place Archives since, at least, 1985, although no clear date of transfer can be established at present.

The Agriculture Department fonds was reappraised in 2019. Files not containing records of archival value were culled as per the Exhibition Place records retention bylaw and duplicate and transitory records were removed from all Agriculture Department files.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of textual records, photographs, architectural plans, prize ribbons and scrapbooks documenting the activities of the Agriculture Department. Arrangement and description is at the series level, and each series has an accompanying file list. Fonds consists of the following series: Agriculture Department Administrative Files, Agriculture Department Scrapbooks.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Researchers are advised that citation of the Exhibition Place Archives is required in publications and essays. Please consult with the archivist regarding reproduction requests.

Finding aids

A detailed inventory is available onsite for the fonds.

Associated materials

See the James G. Perrin fonds, MG 3, for records pertaining to the Miss CNE and Dairy Princess pageants and agriculture publicity.

Related materials


General note

"Sweetheart of the Fair," ARCHEION Virtual Exhibit

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres