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And the Gala Award Goes To... The Royal 100th Anniversary Gala

Part 1 in our 2024 Gala Award Feature Series

All photos courtesy The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 


Gala Award Recipient for Best Entertainment 

The annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair showcases Canada’s best in agriculture and equestrian sport. Now the world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show, the annual 10-day event takes place every November at Toronto’s Exhibition Place and celebrates the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competitions from across the country. 

This particular showcase was a special one, however; it was the 100th anniversary of the original event, held in 1922. The international award-winning event planning firm hala inc. put its talent to work and this year welcomed 1,000 Royal patrons, political and philanthropic community leaders for a night to remember. The event was two years in the making, requiring a well-organized strategic plan. In the end, the event was a lovely success, with lots of entertainment, including three bands, 60 horses (RCMP musical ride, rodeo horses, wild horses, show jump horses, The Toronto Police Mounted Unit), 30 dogs, a goat, an 18-piece pipe and drum band, a poet, two violinists, one opera singer, three equestrian riders, one anthem singer, and intricate collaborations and only two days to rehearse simultaneously while the event was being built!  

At the gala dinner, guests entered a beautifully decorated cocktail reception under a ceiling swagged with Edison bulb string lights to create old fashioned ambiance. They walked onto the golden crown carpet where they were welcomed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and had a photo opportunity with 2022 Royal Ambassador, Winston, a 26-year-old Perderon horse. There was also a Century of Champions Exhibit which showcased memorabilia from the last 100 years of The Royal and a performance by JUNO Award-winning artist Sammy Jackson. 

Carrying on a century-old tradition in their scarlet tunics and feather bonnets, the award-winning St. Andrews College Pipes and Drums then led guests into the dinner reception. Emceed by Canadian television personality, Rick Mercer, guests enjoyed a unique and unforgettable Canadian culinary experience curated and prepared by acclaimed Chef Michael Bonacini, Chair of the Culinary & Hospitality Committee of The Royal. During the dinner, Rick Mercer hosted an up close and personal fireside chat with Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo; encouraged guests to purchase 50/50 draw tickets to support youth and education in agriculture; and hosted a live auction to win a trip of a lifetime to St. Lucia. Following the dinner, the evening continued inside the Coca-Cola Coliseum where dinner guests joined another 500+ public guests for The Royal Showcase presented by SiriusXM Canada. 

Overall, the gala paid tribute to its rich history and provided a very entertaining evening for all those in attendance. 

Congratulations to hala inc. for taking home the award for Best Entertainment!  

To submit an entry to this year's Gala awards, please visit our awards portal.     

Important Dates  

  • Monday, February 19, 2024 | Gala Award Submissions Open 
  • September 1, 2023-August 31, 2024 | Eligibility Period for Entries 
  • Sunday, September 15, 2024 | Regular submission deadline ($125 fee) 
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2024 | Late Bird submission deadline ($175 fee) 

If you are interested in entering in the ACE awards instead, you can enter the Catersource 2025 ACE awards in the same online portal as the Gala awards. Catersource + The Special Event 2025 will run February 24-27 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Both the ACE and Gala awards will be presented during the conference at a to-be-determined location in Fort Lauderdale. 

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