Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More from The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair held in Toronto

Children are brought to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair by teachers and families as part of their education. I figure this is a great thing for kids to do, especially city kids who might never see a pig, a cow, a horse or a chicken if they didn't visit the fair or the two petting zoo/farms that are located in Toronto, one at Riverdale Park in the heart of a major residential section, but perched on the side of a ravine and the other on Toronto Island.

These children and their parents and grandparents greet one of Toronto's finest - a mounted police officer and her horse. The Toronto Police Mounted Unit stable their horses at the Horse Palace throughout the year. They put on extra patrols of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds where The Royal takes place, every time there is a special event. All the horses (and you know horses are my favourite animals) are friendly and kind. Some are more eager than others to go out for a big run, some are content to make slow patrols. But the unit as a whole is a wonderful bunch of individuals, men and women who love their work with their eager, willing and often brave four-legged partners.

If people are lucky, they get to pat a horse and chat with an officer when they visit The Royal or any other major event at the CNE.
This lovely animal just brought his rider in from a workout, patrolling the grounds around the Royal. The officer takes time to chat with visitors and encourages the children to pat her horse.

This young sow sleeps contentedly in her pen. She may already have had piglets judging by her stretch marks and the size of her nipples. But she almost has a smile on her face. Snoozing is good?
These two young alpacas seem very unconcerned about the large crowds of children that visit them and want to pat them. Sometimes they allow this, wandering over close to the edge of their pen and inspecting the children. But alpacas are shy generally. When they are upset they hum. These two must be quite young - they were very relaxed.

Alpaca hair is incredibly warm and coveted by weavers and knitters. Many farms around my neighbourhood have both alpacas and llamas in their barn yards these days, as well as many different kinds of sheep.
This young llama - I was told he was only a year old - has been brushed and polished and was very curious when I began talking to him, reaching out his long neck and sniffing the air to try to determine whether I was friend or foe. Llamas can be quite difficult to manage I understand. If they don't like you, they'll spit. They are used as pack animals in many South American countries and in the Far East I think as well. Their hair is used by weavers all over the world to make warm blankets and beautiful garments, that are long wearing as well as snug.

The Royal has many exhibits and many competitions for farm animals. It recently added a large indoor petting zoo with farm and other animals for children to go through.

The Fair itself comprises many aspects of agricultural life, from the small family farm with a few stock of many different kinds, to large (and small) grain operations, equestrian centres, dairy farms, goat farms, sheep and pig farms and all the related parapharnalia - such as tractors, tack for horses and other animals, booths of (mostly) horse related jewellery, blankets, clothing, demonstrations and workshops. Competitions cover the gamut from sophisticated riding/jumping and driving for horses, right through the animal alphabet. Though it's changed over the years, as all things do, it's a delight to visit, to see, to learn and mostly enjoy and be proud of our strong traditions.

No comments:

Post a Comment