The announcement was made public through a QCX Twitter post on Wednesday morning.
Regina Exhibition Association Limited (QCX) operates the event, which was scheduled for July 29 to August 1, 2020.
“We delayed it as long as we could to make sure that we really understood the situation, but we felt at this time, and given the public health order in effect, this was the right decision,” said REAL CEO Tim Reid.
Reid said the organization purposefully adopted a wait-and-see approach, remaining hopeful for the sake of fans, vendors and the local economy.
“It’s a show that has more than 235,000 people who visit, and last year was a record show. So it really was something the public looks forward to,” Reid said.
Reid noted QCX generates more than $7 million in economic impact annually through restaurant, hotel and retail business.
It also drives revenue for REAL, the non-profit organization that manages the 100-acre Evraz Place property for the City of Regina.
The site notably hosted the first neutral-city NHL Heritage Classic last fall and was scheduled to host the 2020 Grey Cup Festival until a CFL announcement on May 20.
“The summer time is when we make all our money, it’s when all our big events happen, and Queen City Ex is a 135-year tradition of generating positive cash flow for this organization,” Reid said.
“It’s an unfortunate next cancellation, and it results in somewhere between $200,000 to $400,000 in economic loss depending on the year and how much sunshine and attendance we get.”
While the 2020 QCX lineup was never publicly released, Reid noted all performers have agreed to honour their commitments for 2021.
Reid said that after Saskatchewan placed COVID-19 restrictions on events, REAL prepared for a worst-case scenario where doors wouldn’t open until Dec. 31, 2020.
“As we get further into this process of recovery, I think we’re more optimistic that we’re going to see some positivity,” he said, adding the QCX cancellation was accounted for in recent projections.
“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t dampen our spirits and the reality of it doesn’t hurt.”
Despite the event being cancelled, Queen City Ex announced Wednesday it was selling pre-ordered mini donuts at Evraz Place on Friday to give people a “Taste of QCX” that they will now be missing.
Each order would also receive two complementary gate admissions for the 2021 fair.
The event sold out online in less than three hours. Those proceeds will go to the Regina Food Bank, which Prairie Mobile said it will match.