Canadian Lakehead Exhibition in Thunder Bay cancelled for second year in a row

Excerpt from Posted: Apr 01, 2021 7:00 AM ET

COVID-19 pandemic behind decision, CLE president says

The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition (CLE) in Thunder Bay, Ont., won’t be taking place this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the second year in a row the CLE has been cancelled because of the novel coronavirus.

“Because of the planning that’s involved in a fair that size, you have to deal with a lot of aspects of it, from the entertainment to the midway to, let’s say, a petting zoo, and your cleaning, your security, your vendors and then permits that are involved,” said Al Law, CLE president.

“Then, just looking at distancing and disinfecting, you have to quadruple your staff. And it doesn’t make sense for the safety of all the volunteers, and all the staff, and the midway staff, the vendors, the public.”

The 2021 CLE would have taken place in August, had it gone ahead.

Law said the pandemic has cost the CLE about $2.5 million in gross revenue from the cancellation of last year’s fair, and other events which take place at the exhibition grounds in Thunder Bay.

However, he said the organization will be able to weather the challenges.

“As an agricultural society, we’re in better shape than probably 90 per cent of the fairs in Ontario because we have tenants,” he said. “We have annual tenants, even though we’ve given rent relief  to each of them.

“That obviously helps us. However, we have all the expenses that go with it, the utilities, you know, from the telephone to cleaning the ground, snow removal,” Law said, adding that the winter of 2020-2021 was a good one for the CLE  because snow removal costs were lower than normal.