The wind turbine at the west end of Exhibition Place is a powerful symbol for a green and sustainable future, North America’s first urban wind turbine. The site is also close to the monument to Fort Rouillé, the site of a War of 1812 battlefield and the remains of the “new” fort. Exhibition Place is emblematic of two distinct facets of Toronto—a historic military site and a centre for innovation.

The Crystal Palace, c 1906 (courtesy City of Toronto Archives/Fonds 1548, Series 393, Item 17926).

A major purpose of the Industrial Fair that became the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in 1912 was to stimulate better, more scientific agricultural practices. Throughout the years, the Exhibition showcased innovation, particularly in its Crystal Palace. In 1882 it became the first fairground in the world to be lit by electricity. Today, the CNE is the first fair in North America to achieve EcoLogo certification, making it the greenest fair on the continent.

Best practices and innovation extend to the buildings of Exhibition Place, home of the CNE and other events. Other sites in this theme highlight Toronto’s contributions to world innovations, from the discovery of insulin to the communications insights of Marshall McLuhan.

A selection of sites from this theme is laid out in the trail Discovery and Innovation.

The Stories