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Article courtesy of Ottawa Citizen newspaper

The board of directors of the Central Canada Exhibition Association voted Thursday to cancel Ottawa’s annual summer fair.

“It was decided that the operation of SuperEx would be suspended for 2011,” association president Mark Lamoureux said Tuesday in announcing the decision.

The suspension marks the first time since 1888 — except for during the First and Second World Wars — that there will be no end-of-summer exhibition at Lansdowne Park.

The exhibition certainly has deep roots in Ottawa’s rural past. It started out in 1888 as a small farmer-oriented fair. Local farmers herded their cows, pigs and sheep to the fairgrounds for judging, while sword swallowers, snake charmers, fat ladies and magicians entertained the crowds. Fairgoers had to take 12-seat horse drawn buses or one of three paddle steamboats on the Rideau Canal to reach the grounds.

Automobiles were no longer a novelty when the races came to town for the Central Canada Exhibition in 1925. But racing was still novel enough to attract large crowds to see vehicles like the Frontenac Ford do battle along a dusty track.

The photo is courtesy of Clifford M. Johnston, National Archives of Canada.