|The Vetescope Team|
The two men on the left side of this photo, and the man to the far right, are all looking so smug because these three veterinarians have just been awarded fancy new pens in recognition of their outstanding PR work. They were the masterminds behind Vetescope, "the biggest public relations venture that organized veterinary medicine has undertaken on this continent". It ran at the Ex in 1962 and '63 and I'm guessing it's the weirdest exhibit the CNE has ever featured.
Held in what's now the Music Building, Vetescope was meant to show that vets were more than just "horse doctors"; it had films and displays and more than 100 Canadian veterinarians on hand to meet the public, explain their profession and provide live demonstrations of their work. Including surgeries.
Apparently, people couldn't get enough of it. More than 400,000 attended the exhibit in its first year, so many that they had to set up a closed circuit television; not everyone could get close enough to see through the windows into the operating room. And while the video below suggests that the vets might have tried to stick with small incisions, there were still plenty of people who couldn't take it. In one day alone, at least a dozen people fainted. One man passed out twice. Another recovered only to walk straight into a tree. The organizers, fearing for public safety, made sure there were assistants on hand to help those audience members who did keel over.
As if the combination of cotton candy, corn dogs and rollercoasters wasn't already enough to make you want to puke.
Here, if you're up for it, is some silent (and not too gory) footage of Vetescope '63 from the CNE's archives on YouTube: