Exhibition Place’s Queen Elizabeth building was taken over by all things British on the weekend during the 19th annual British Isles Show, a trade show that features merchandise from all over the United Kingdom.
The building was teeming with all kinds of goodies that are normally not available for purchase in this country, such as the popular Irish potato crisp brand, Tayto.
Even Michael Le Vell, one of the main characters on the wildly popular Coronation Street, one of the longest running shows on television, was on hand to sign autographs and take pictures with a winding line of show fanatics.
“I haven’t had much chance to go and explore, but everyone I talk to seems to be having a great time,” Le Valle said.
Show promoter and organizer Brian Martin of B. Martin Promotions, said from his wheelchair that he is glad to see another successful show this year.
“There was another British show before this one that wasn’t very successful so I decided to bring a new one and it worked.” Martin said. “One in five people in Canada have some sort of British background so there is really something for everyone.”
Martin also said that he has had difficulty in the past importing some of the products, especially Irish pork, and that he had to fight the government in order to be able to import Irish pork products into the country.
“I kept on with the government and it cost me a large amount of money to go through all of the different aspects. For nine years I just kept going and it got to the point where we met all the criteria and it went through.”
Martin said, “I just believed that they didn’t want the product to come into the country to protect their own market.”
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website, commodities such as fresh and or frozen meat from a country that has cases of foot and mouth disease are prohibited. Ireland has had several outbreaks of the disease in the past few decades.
However a representative for the Canadian Import Services agency assures that the import embargo no longer exists.
“From what I’m seeing today, there is nothing stopping people from importing pork from Ireland.”