Royal Winter Fair

I’m going to indoor eventing for the first time at the Royal Winter Fair! Do we need to buy advance tickets? Any other hot tips??

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Yes, you are supposed to buy them in advance as the “hot shows” tend to sell out

In years past the sponsors of the indoor eventing (I think Bahr Saddlery and Sprucewood Tack) also offered a 15% discount on all items in their booth with a ticket to the evening show. Not sure if they are doing that again this year

ETA seems the rodeo and the last Saturday are sold out

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Definitely buy your tickets in advance. As AAO said, some shows are already sold out and others will likely sell out as we get closer. The horse show tickets also give you general admission to the rest of the Royal.

I would highly recommend, if possible, taking the GO Train to the Exhibition stop, which is literally right at the site of the Royal. Parking in the past has been expensive and at times a total nightmare, in addition to the traffic (assuming you need to travel to get there). The only downside is that if you do a lot of shopping, you have nowhere to put your packages so you have to lug them around all day.

Also you must have the potato rosti, apple dumpling, and cinnamon roll at a bare minimum :smiley:


… And horses too! Hmmm. Sounds just like my kind of show.

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The Royal is SUCH a blast. The indoor eventing is of course super fun, its not a super long show though so be sure to stay and watch the Showjumping and whatever else is on that day. Be prepared for long lines for food. It’s super warm in there too so leave your coat in your car and just dress warm otherwise.

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We always go to the Big Ben Challenge which is usually a pretty busy day at the Royal. We arrive for 9:00 am to shop and look at all the exhibits and tour the horse barn and cattle barn, and we always get prime parking underground in the 1st or 2nd row. We leave coats/jackets in the vehicle and great for running packages back to the car. Even with the traffic to leave at the end of the night, it’s still faster than the GO train.

ETA: Parking is either $20 or $25


Thanks everyone! I’m so glad you told me to buy tickets because they were almost none left. We are sitting in the nosebleed section!

I’ve sat in stop-and-go traffic for over 2.5 hours just to get there, and then got relegated to the back 40 parking lot, paid an arm and a leg, and then had to walk back to my car alone in the pitch dark (I was working at one of the vendor booths).

The traffic might be ok, or it might be a nightmare coming from where I live. It’s hit and miss, even on weekends, especially when the major highways are under construction (which they are again this year). I’ve been caught in it enough times over the years that taking the GO Train is the best option. I guess it depends on where OP is travelling from.

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Thanks everyone! I am a strong believer in public transit so will do that.

The silly thing is that I have a work meeting at noon and I’m annoyed that the eventing starts so late! I’d go to the Royal for the whole afternoon if I knew I could watch horses, but it looks like you have to buy a horseshow ticket for the day as well to watch horses before 7 pm? And I can’t figure out whether the tickets I bought for the evening show include general admission to the fair??? I am dragging my non-horsey sister with me and am promising beer and good fair food!

Tickets for the horse show include general admission to the fair. Some days have ticketed performances/shows in the afternoon as well. Which day are you going?

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Thanks! I’m going Saturday so there’s a ticketed show in the aft. Are there other rings you can watch though? Or no horses without buying into a ticketed show?

Sometimes there’s competitions going on in the horse palace ring, generally not riding though. You might be able to find more info here once it’s updated

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You’ve got free shows until noon in the big ring

And free classes in horse palace all day (page 11)

There are usually classes in the small ring where the stables are. There are also demonstrations in the ring that’s in the exhibition area. It used to be called Spirit of the Horse, don’t know if it still is. There are demonstrations of various disciplines and breeds.

And the stabling (except for FEI of course) is open to the public so you can stroll through the barns. It’s always fun to watch the big draft teams getting harnessed up

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I love going to watch the Royal. Last time I went to watch I actually went alone and had the best time ever - would 100% go alone again.

The drive is 3 hours for me, left my house around 11 am and hit ZERO traffic. Talk about lucky eh? Was the start to a perfect day.

Since I was alone, I could drag my feet spending time doing what I wanted to do. Lots of shopping, lots of meandering the barns.

But the best part was the people I met. I’m a pretty chatty person, and met some people who’d I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to talk to if I stuck to a group.

Three people stick out.

One was an older women working for Barhs in their booth. She was British, had announced at some pretty neat venues throughout her life, and we had a great conversation regarding helmet safety.

Another was a lady who works for EC. It was just when the new rules came out regarding coaches needing certain certifications to be able to coach at shows. What a great discussion we had! I just happened to sit next to her during one of the clinics run at the Royal.

Lastly, during the evening performance, I sat next to who I found out was a very accomplished rider. It was hunter derby night and she had ridden in the class herself multiple times in previous years. I gained lots of insight to what judges look for etc. not that I’d ever ride at that caliber in my life, haha.

All in all, a very educational, fun trip that I almost missed out on because of was leery of going alone.


It’s a great place to go alone! And horsey people are always happy to talk about horses :slight_smile:


Thanks everyone! Really excited!

Is there an entry list anywhere?

This is the only thing I can find so far that lists accepted entries:

You can purchase programs at the fair.
Another recommendation is to get there earlier rather than later and pay the extra to park inside. This allows you to A) leave your coat in your car and B) put your purchases away when they either get too heavy or when you are headed to the show.

Also worth checking out the schedule for whatever day you are going, here is the one for Saturday
The superdog show is quite entertaining…

Best tasting stuff: rosti, the lemonade from actual lemons, maple coffee, Howe’s cinnamon buns. You can buy anything on a bun.