Cape Breton County Exhibition
The Lieutenant Governor opened the first Cape Breton County Exhibition at the Stretching Ring on Blowers Street in North Sydney on October 13, 1908. It later moved to Sydney, where the farmers put up a permanent building on what later became the site of St. Rita's Hospital. Eventually, the Sydney property was sold and the Exhibition returned to North Sydney for its 21st Annual Exhibition on September 6th, 1936. Apart from a few missed events during the Second World War, the Exhibition has been held at the Regent Street location every year since 1936. The site also includes northside Downs, a harness racetrack, which was built in 2007 and continues to operate today.
Many visitors commented on how nice it is to have Exhibitions throughout the province that promote agriculture. They appreciate the hands on displays, such as bottle-feeding calves, a petting zoo, rug-hooling demonstrations and flower arranging workshops that are offered here. Our Exhibition has provided opportunities for employment and generated revenue for the community, as well as showing programs such as 4-H in action, and being able to enter competitions with their handmade items, vegetables and flowers.
During the off-season, the facility is used for 4-H meeting space, farm equipment maintenance, rental and housing. Stalls are rented for harness racing horses year-round, and during the harness racing season. The facility provides meeting space for agricultural producers in the area and agricultural education through greenhouse and gardening for local elementary students, as well as art classes and youth boxing. The arena, hall and kitchens are also available for rent. There is winter vehicle and RV storage too.
Improvements made to the facilities and grounds include upgrading seating in the arena due to safety concerns, painting of all the bleachers and adding gravel to pathways and walkways. Continued improvements and upgrades were done to the electrical outputs on the grounds for the Wharton Ross Food Court and for the trailer parking area. Sections of the deck outside the food court were replaced and painting was completed.