The Association des Expositions du Québec was initially created in 1940 but was dismantled the year after because of the war. That was made the status of the fairs very precarious. At the beginning of the fifties, the right to regroup as become the only possibility to save the fairs. The leaders of the fairs understand the urgency and they must take action.
In 1953, an interesting report on the precarious finances of the Canadian fairs was approved by this association and presented to the Ministère Fédéral de l'Agriculture. In addition to financial difficulties, the fairs seemed to suffer from bad press. In it's fall 1954 issue, the “Farm Quarterly” presents an article: “Are Shows Slipping?”. The author, Mr Charles R. Koch, underlines the number of important issues caused by the judgment rules of the time that seemed to encourage an excessive preparation of the animals. He particularly highlights the breeding and market beef cattle classes.
Facing the urgency of the situation and considering the mission of the agricultural fairs in Québec of improving all forms of agriculture and the marketing of animals and farm equipment, the decision is made, union is the way to go; we must share our experiences and expertise. With that in mind, the second foundation meeting of the Association des Expositions du Québec is held on June 15, 1955 at 10am.
Monsieur le Commissaire Labrecque, representing the Ministère de l’Agriculture confirms the need to create an association. For him, a fair cannot be only agricultural because it needs enough money to cover its financial needs. Despite the government's interest, he prefers to not get involved because this association must be autonomous. So Monsieur J.-A. Ste-Marie, of the Exposition de Sherbrooke becomes the first elected president of the association.
At the beginning, 35 agricultural fairs covering the entire Québec province were member of the AEAQ. The firsts mandates of the leaders mostly regarded the standardization of the rules and classes of the numerous animals competitions and the development of appropriate sanitary rules. Over the years, the number of fairs in the association has increased mainly because of breakups and expansion of the agricultural societies and corporations; a peak of 40 fairs was reached in 1996.
Because the agricultural fairs have become bigger over the years and because they now constitute major events in most regions, the AEAQ has become the center of all informations regarding the new requirements and regulations regarding the organization of the agricultural fairs.