The 140th Canadian National Exhibition opened Friday morning during the controversy over the trade unions, when trade unionists representing excluded stagehands called about the prime minister and the mayor's remarks at the opening ceremony.
The voices of members of the pecking trade union were heard in the neighborhood as Mayor John Tory acknowledged the protest prior to the opening. Even though visitors may have to cross the picket lines, he told the crowd: "Many families will come here to have a good time."
"I thank God that we live in a country where people can express their opinions", he later told reporters, and he added, the trade union "would agree with me that we all want to make sure that the 140th CNE is very successful."
At a certain point in the ceremony, a large inflatable rat doll – called "Scabby" by the demonstrators – could be seen above the background.
Approximately 400 workers, represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union, were excluded by the CNE board of directors on July 20, after months of negotiations.
Unpacked pickets stretched out along Strachan Ave. Friday, signs and shouts in megaphones. Scabby and another doll from the face of a grotesque man and hands joined them on the line of the pile.
"I feel angry, I feel afraid, I feel frustrated … because this is where I used to work", said stage hand Pierre Quinn on the corner of the corner.
He said he was angry about what is being done, "and how it is done, and by whom it is being done."
The board has said that it wants to update the employees' contract to reflect the "highly competitive" marketplace and that it thinks the dispute should be handled at the negotiating table rather than in arbitration as suggested by the trade union.
The union has said that the board refuses to negotiate in good faith and that its employees will continue to search the duration of the CNE if the dispute is not resolved.
The Ex is known as a showcase for extravagant fast food trends. This year's Ex includes a $ 100 burger covered with 24-carat gold, "suitable for a king". The burger contains a five-ounce patty with bacon, maple, peculiar bacon, cheddar, onion rings, jalapeno, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo in an edible golden roll.
Other offers include balls of cotton candy and ice cream, deep-fried Ferrero Rocher chocolates and another gilt delicacy: a gold covered ice bar.
"Everybody takes photos of gold," told Instagrammer Fred Bkayleh to the Star's Evelyn Kwong.
"Selling hamburgers for $ 100 with gold in them and then excluding employees, I do not see irony, it's ridiculous, really," Quinn said.
After excluding the stageworkers, the board of Exhibition Place asked the union not to draw up a picket line until after the Ex, which lasts until 3 September.
In a statement last month, Local 58 President Justin Antheunis said: "That is not going to happen."
"We are not going to surrender our rights under the law and endanger the safety of Torontonians and other visitors to Exhibition Place as a favor to Tory's friends, nor will we endanger visitors, we will not be pushed around . "
CNE, Canada's largest annual community event, expects to draw 1.6 million people for 18 days.
The CNE encourages visitors to take the public transportation to the grounds of the event. 19659002] Prime Minister Doug Ford, who spoke at the opening ceremony, also announced plans to rejuvenate Ontario Place, the nearby site of a former amusement park on the water.
"Ontario Place was spectacular," he said. "We will bring it back to life."
With files from the Canadian press, Samantha Beattie, Inori Roy and Evelyn Kwong
Tamar Harris is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @tamarmharris
Québec substitutes brought in for CNE, union says
Union pickets Exhibition Place after board locks technical and stage workers
How to be a #foodstagrammer? We went to the Ex to make photo's of crazy dishes