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Toronto's Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

A Canadian tradition since 1922, the Royal is a showcase of the very best in agriculture, horticulture and equestrian sport and a rare opportunity to experience a taste of rural life in the city. Stay tuned for \ dates . Website: Royal Winter Fair


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF) are inviting nominations for the third annual Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence. The national awards, first launched in 2001, celebrate outstanding achievement in Canadian agriculture and agri-food in five categories: innovation, environmental stewardship, export performance, agricultural awareness and education, and voluntarism.

"Our agriculture and agri-food sector is a major contributor to this country's economy and these awards honour the people whose hard work helps keep us in the forefront," said Lyle Vanclief, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Canada's reputation as a world leader in food safety, innovation and environmentally responsible production is well known and the industry deserves a pat on the back."

"For the past 80 years, the Royal has been a celebration of excellence in the agricultural industry, and is the premier showcase of its diversity and innovation," said Michael Belcourt, president of the RAWF. "These prestigious awards honour the achievements of individuals, groups, organizations and businesses and their contributions to the continued vitality of Canada's agri-food sector."

"The awards also recognize the tremendous role of the agri-food sector in the environmental health and rural fabric of our country," added Mr. Vanclief.

"Canadian agriculture has faced some hard times this year, and now, more than ever, is the time for some good news," said Bob Friesen, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. "These awards honour individuals, groups and companies who have worked hard to make our industry and our country better. They are our good news."

Nominations for the Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence will be accepted until August 31, 2003. The awards will be presented Nov. 10, 2003, at the Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence Luncheon at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

Selection criteria and nomination forms are available at www.agr.gc.ca/cb/awards-prix/ag_awards_e.phtml or www.royalfair.org . Those without Internet access may contact AAFC at (519) 837-5867.

For more information, please see attached backgrounder or contact:

Media Relations Bill Duron

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Ottawa (416) 263-3447, (613) 759-7972

Awards Backgrounder

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair have developed the Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence. Nominations are solicited for five awards:

1. The Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship recognizes an exemplary individual, group, organization or corporation that has demonstrated consistently responsible environmental practices and/or undertaken specific projects, activities or research that enhance or preserve the natural environment of rural Canada.

General Criteria: The nominee was instrumental in identifying, reducing, solving or avoiding an environmental problem and has demonstrated consistently responsible environmental management practices. The nominee's activities were unique or original. The project met specific environmental objectives/goals that resulted in net benefit to the environment. The nominee's activities were voluntary and did not contravene any municipal, provincial or federal environmental laws or statutes. The nominee's activities were a proactive approach to a particular environmental problem or challenge facing farming, rural communities or the agri-food industry. Through this activity, the nominee promoted public awareness and understanding and showed active concern for the enhancement and protection of the environment.


2. The Award of Excellence for Innovation recognizes an individual, organization or business that made an innovative contribution to the agri-food sector, resulting in a new technology, product or service, a new use for an existing product and/or increased productivity, profitability or client-service.

General Criteria: The nominee's innovative technology, end product, or service must be original and contain a majority of Canadian content and have resulted in specific commercial and/or social benefits within the last three years. The benefits of the innovation must go beyond the nominee and contribute to the industry, sector or society at large. The research, innovation or technology has advanced the capabilities of the sector, created or enhanced existing partnerships and resulted in a new product and/or service. The innovation is already, or has the potential to be, commercially successful.

3. The Award of Excellence for Agri-Food Export recognizes outstanding achievements by a small- or medium-sized Canadian enterprise, alliance or organization in securing new export markets.

General Criteria: The nominee made an important contribution to the agri-food industry or the rural community, thereby improving the quality of life for Canadians. A small- or medium-sized Canadian enterprise, alliance or organization with sales of no more than $50 million, the nominee is based in Canada and exports Canadian grown, produced or processed products and has been in business at least two fiscal years. The nominee is currently exporting to one or more countries, with export sales that are at least 15 per cent of total sales. The nominee has demonstrated success in the following areas: introducing new products or services in the international market; maintaining or increasing export market share over a two-year period; developing unique export alliances with domestic or international partners to secure new international markets for products or services.

4. The Award of Excellence for Agricultural Awareness and Education recognizes an individual, group or organization that has made significant contributions in promoting public awareness and understanding of the agriculture and agri-food sector through agricultural awareness/education events, activities or projects.

General Criteria: The nominee's concept, project, event or activity was unique or original and met specific outreach objectives/goals. The activity created awareness in a new or undeveloped audience. The nominee projected a confident and positive image for the sector and demonstrated thorough knowledge of the sector. The core message of the project was positive and was appropriate for the intended audience. The nominee's efforts resulted in improved image, increased understanding or more extensive or in-depth knowledge of the sector.

5. The Award of Excellence for Voluntarism recognizes an individual or organization whose actions, commitment, dedication, enthusiasm and generosity of spirit make a valuable ongoing contribution to the agri-food industry and/or the rural community, improving the quality of life for rural Canadians.

General Criteria: The nominee demonstrated a high degree of commitment, beyond personal benefit, to the agri-food sector and the rural community. Initiatives undertaken by the nominee have generated tangible and measurable benefits to the agri-food industry and/or the rural community over the last three years. The nominee is a role model for others, attracting others to volunteering. The nominee is engaged in volunteer activities that address community concerns and/or challenges for the agriculture and agri-food industry.

All nominees must be Canadian residents or Canadian-based organizations and meet eligibility requirements, which are specific to each award.

 Barry MacCormack

Senior Communications Advisor/Conseiller principal en communications

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada

Telephone/Téléphone: 519-837-5867

Facsimile/Télécopieur: 519-837-9782

174 Stone Road West/174 chemin Stone Ouest

Guelph, Ontario/Guelph (Ontario)

N1G 4S9E



Toronto, Ontario: On Monday, March 24, 2003, senior executives of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair made a presentation to the Economic Development Committee of the City of Toronto. The City of Toronto has been a long-standing supporter of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the presentation on Monday was an opportunity to review the positive impact the Royal has on the city and to discuss plans for working together in the future.

"Over the last two years, particularly, the Royal has experienced a very positive, steady growth in attendance, exhibitors and corporate partners," states Bill Duron, CEO of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The economic impact the Royal has on the city is also substantial. "November is typically a slow month for tourism but, in that month the Royal generates $44 million dollars in visitor spending," sights Mr. Duron.

 The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest indoor combined agricultural, horticultural, canine and equestrian event in the world and occupies approximately 1 million square feet of space at the National Trade Centre every November. While the event has been growing in stature and attendance, expenses to maintain the quality of this world-class event have also been growing, causing the organization to utilize reserve funds. Royal senior executives have taken a proactive approach in securing continuing support and partners to ensure the Royal operates without further reliance on reserve funds. These efforts with the City and the senior levels of government will solidify the financial position to keep the event growing and relevant well into the future.

The 2003 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will take place at the National Trade Centre, Exhibition Place, November 7 - 16, 2003. A Canadian tradition since 1922, the Royal is a showcase of the very best in agriculture, horticulture and equestrian sport and a rare opportunity to experience a taste of rural life in the city.

For additional information, please contact:

Bill Duron

Chief Executive Officer

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

TEL 416 263-3447