TORONTO -- A petition to keep the Canadian National Exhibit (CNE) in business has collected more than 6,000 signatures as the organization threatens to close its doors amid financial strain after 142 years in business.

The exhibition was set to take place from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6, 2021, but after being cancelled for the second year in a row, the CNE says it’s “facing huge financial pressure” and that it’s “at risk of being unable to host another fair."

The petition, started by City of Toronto councillor Mike Layton, calls on the provincial and federal government to immediately contribute $5.5 million each to the CNE.

“The popularity of the 18-day fair makes a significant economic contribution to the economy of the GTA and province, generating $93.1M and $128.3M respectively,” the petition says.

“The CNE is also an important employer, particularly of youth, keeping near 5,000 people per fair season in their employ and supporting 700 independent vendors,” it continues.

The 2021 CNE was cancelled on Friday, May 14th, along with all of Toronto’s other major celebrations and festivals this summer.

“While we understand the importance for public health authorities to take necessary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are also conscious of the impact the cancellation of the CNE will have for its attendees, vendors and the many youth employed for the event,” John Kiru, president of the Canadian National Exhibition Board of Directors said in a statement on this year’s closures.

At the time of publication, the petition was just over 500 signatures away from its goal of 7000.