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No More Racing At Markham Fair

Published: September 19, 2011 4:15 pm ET

Last Comment: September 27, 2011 9:20 am ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

For years, the Markham Fair, located northeast of Toronto, was one of Ontario's showplaces for the standardbred industry's fair racing circuit. Although, it appears that racing in Markham is now a thing of the past.

According to a notice on the Markham Fair's website, the fair's board of directors has "reluctantly cancelled harness racing for the 2011 fair. The decision to cancel the races was not taken lightly. However, the fair could no longer justify the financial drain that harness racing had become."

The notice did convey that the fair will be hosting the traditional light and heavy horse show competitions in 2011, along with two new events --- those being the 4B Wild West Show and the Miniature Horse Competition.

The Markham Fair notice appears below in its entirety.


The Last Race
September 7, 2011

Friends of the Markham Fair will remember fondly the thrill and excitement of the annual harness races, a tradition that dates back decades. Large crowds would eagerly anticipate each race, scrutinize every stride, and applaud enthusiastically as the winners were declared. But in an era of organized lotteries, provincially-sanctioned casinos, and the countless online gaming options now available, the once large crowds have dwindled in recent years and interest in harness racing generally has waned. The business of “harness racing” and pari-mutuel betting has become a money-losing proposition for most fairs, including the Markham Fair.

Following much reflection and analysis, the Board of Directors of the Markham Fair has reluctantly cancelled harness racing for the 2011 Fair. The decision to cancel the races was not taken lightly. However, the Fair could no longer justify the financial drain that harness racing had become.

As always, The Markham Fair remains committed to our agricultural roots and will continue to support the interests of the equestrian community. In 2011 fair-goers will again have the opportunity to see events on the racetrack including the traditional light and heavy horse show competitions. Additionally this year, new equestrian events have been added to our schedule including the 4B Wild West Show, and the Miniature Horse Competition. Overall attendance at the Fair continues to be very strong and we expect in excess of 70,000 visitors to enjoy these events this year.

We at the Fair are nostalgic at the loss of harness racing, but we also embrace the future, looking forward to a continued celebration of agriculture for decades to come.


September 27, 2011 - 9:20 amToo bad, these guys should

Tim Bates SAID...

Too bad, these guys should be looking to add dates, not remove them, an extended meet on a half miler East of Toronto, that would be a novel idea.

Maybe Ajax could pick up the date!

September 20, 2011 - 11:37 amSo sad , Simcoe gone, now

Luis Willis SAID...

So sad , Simcoe gone, now Markham. I doubt there there will be any fairs in Ontario with harness racing left. It's too bad young people were never given a chance to discover this great sport..

September 20, 2011 - 12:06 am"As always, The Markham Fair

norm files SAID...

"As always, The Markham Fair remains committed to our agricultural roots."

I had no idea the demolition derby had agricultural roots.

September 19, 2011 - 10:06 pmThis is one of the reasons

This is one of the reasons why I went to the Markham fair.

Sigh :(


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