While it’s open—until September 6—Torontoist’s photographers are exploring the Canadian National Exhibition. Today, Nancy Paiva focuses on the workers who make the whole thing happen.
The faces of the workers at the Canadian National Exhibition tell a story—one I didn’t expect. Sure, some are locals that had been making the rounds with the midway for decades, but the vast majority of the workers I met are from South Africa, of all places. One CNE veteran who works in management at North American Midway Entertainment told us that this year some 250 South Africans were hired to work at the Ex—for them, just one stop in up-to-nine-month-long trips to the United States and Canada, during which they earn a living while getting to travel, sometimes supporting loved ones back home. Including flights and paperwork, it costs about $4,500 just to bring each of the workers over to North America from their homes. The CNE, it turns out, is actually international.
Photos by Nancy Paiva/Torontoist.