Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition is looking to hire hundreds of people as it prepares for “huge crowds” in its first year back since 2019.
Advance ticket sales are 300 per cent higher this year than three years ago, according to Darrell Brown, CEO of the Canadian National Exhibition Association. The CNE runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5.
“We’re expecting huge crowds,” Brown told CBC Toronto on Thursday. “People are very excited. They want to come out.”
Brown said the fair creates jobs for more than 5,000 people in all.
He said the CNE has hired more than 750 people for its operations during the fair. About 90 per cent of the people it has hired are already employed. It is hiring another 650 people for its CNE Charity Casino. Vendors and concession stand operators are hiring another 3,600 people. More hiring will be done for set up and tear down.
People seek out jobs at the CNE, he said.
“It’s tradition,” he said. “People remember when they were kids going with their parents and with their grandparents.”
“There are so many people that I run into who say ‘My first job was here.’ I think part of it is that and part of it is the perception. This is fun. And they want to be part of it.”
Brown said the CNE is in a “bit of special position” right now because very few people who worked at the fair previously have returned.
Typically, he said the CNE would have received up to 10,000 applications over the course of its recruitment. But even though fewer people have applied this year, there are more applications than jobs available and the CNE will be able to fill all positions and run a successful fair, he said.
“Normally, we would have a number of people on staff returning, but with a two-year hiatus, we pretty much have to train from scratch, so that’s one of the things we’ve been working on,” he said.
On Thursday, the North American Midway Entertainment (NAME) held a job fair in the galleria at Enercare Centre from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The job fair will continue on Friday during the same hours and at the same place.
The organization is hiring ride operators, food handlers and ticket sellers.
Lynda Franc, corporate marketing director for NAME, said the company is hoping to hire about 300 people in Toronto for the CNE. It has run midways in Calgary and Edmonton so far this year.
“We’ve seen fewer applications but we’ve had enough people to be able to run our midways very successfully still,” she said.
Applicants must be 18 years and older and are told to bring valid photo identification and their social insurance number.
For one applicant, a job at the CNE would mean not only money but some fun as well.
Jecile Orduro, who dropped off her resume on Thursday, said she is hoping to land a job in the midway games. She has worked at restaurants, in customer service and as a makeup artist for a cosmetics company.
“I need a seasonal position for the summer, just to get some money as well as to have just a good fun time,” she said. “I definitely feel like if I get this position, I’ll enjoy it.”
Equipment for the setting up of midway rides and games is expected to arrive Aug. 11.
The CNE says it attracted 1.4 million visitors over 18 days in 2019.