Central Canada Exhibition returning to Lansdowne Park for one day this summer

It’s been more than a decade since Ottawa hosted the Central Canada Exhibition. However, this July will mark the brief return of the beloved fair at Lansdowne Park.

“I know it will bring back good memories for many residents who enjoyed the Ex and probably create some new ones for those who weren’t around at the time,” said Mayor Jim Watson. 

The one day return of the Ex, announced by the mayor during his State of the City Address on Wednesday, commemorates a milestone in Ottawa’s history when the council voted to save the Aberdeen Pavilion from demolition in 1992.

“We will be working with CCCA to mark the 30th anniversary of that important date,” said Watson. “I’ve asked to work with the organization to host an old fashioned exhibition at Lansdowne.”

Watson was a councillor at the time, noting the Aberdeen Pavilion’s restoration as one of the things he’s most proud of while in office. With funding, the building was restored and reopened to the public in the early 90s. 

“Central Canada Exhibition was a huge part of so many people’s lives,” said Colin McSweeney, a former president of the Canada Central Exhibition Association. “It was part of the fabric of the city of Ottawa for well over a hundred years.”

McSweeney says the return brings back fond memories from his childhood.

“I started here when I was 11 or 12 actually blowing up the balloons for the dart game,” he said.

On July 2, a ceremony will be held unveiling a plaque commemorating the Exhibition at Lansdowne Park. Details are still being ironed out, but the free event will include a full day of games and rides featured in past exhibition years.

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