The crowds at the CNE don’t lie. Everyone loves the fair. It doesn’t matter if you’re two or 92, there’s something about The Ex that keeps us coming back every year. Even if just for the corn dogs and cotton candy.
What brings you to The Ex? Are you a thrill seeker who craves the energy of the midway, the culinary adventurer who is driven to sample the latest deep-fried creation, an animal lover with a hankering to be back at the farm, a shopaholic in need of some globetrotting retail therapy, or the cultural spectator who is captivated by the lights and showmanship of a good performance like the Aerial Acrobatics and Ice Skating Show? Whatever your CNE personality, you know the CNE will deliver. Here are a few of my highlights this year:
1.) Commemorative Book – History buffs have been able to see compelling online images of the CNE through the ages at http://www.cneheritage.com Now you can purchase the 2017 CNE Commemorative Book for $10. Stories and images highlighting everything from food, fashion and advertising at the CNE from 1879 will be the perfect addition to your coffee table.
2.) Warriors’ Day Parade – In this the 96th anniversary of the parade, many come to honour and show respect to our aging World War II veterans and those who have served and continue to serve in Canada’s Armed Forces. Every year on the second day of the Ex the parade makes its way into the Princess Gates starting at 10:30 in the morning. This year they commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 75th Anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.
3.) Quilt of Belonging – In celebration of Canada 150 this gorgeous travelling textile art installation made of 263 blocks represents the cultural legacies of all the First Peoples in Canada and every nation of the world. Intricate beadwork and a variety of fabrics tell a resilient story of multiculturalism, solidarity and hope for the future. Arts, Crafts & Hobbies Pavilion.
4.) Bandshell Concerts – Go for the amazing roster of musical talent on tap every night at 7:30. Burton Cummings and Band opened the CNE with a memorable record setting performance for what they say was the largest audience in the history of the CNE. Actor/singer and Toronto expat Kiefer Sutherland, Colin James, Brett Kissel, and John Kay and Steppenwolf are a few of the musical acts in the queue.
5.) Ribfest – Ribfest is smokin’ in the Bandshell Park, or you can feast on a giant turkey leg at Jumbo Smoked Turkey Legs and imagine you’ve just participated in the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament (which is, come to think of it, next door on the CNE grounds).
6.) Origami Canada Land — The Canada 150 celebrations continue in Heritage Court in the Enercare Centre with a stunning origami art installation by husband and wife artist team Yuri and Katrin Shumakov of Oriland fame. The CN Tower and proud Canadian landmarks are fun to identify, then try your own skills at origami design.
7.) The Unity Pole – Don’t leave without finding Ojibway artist Kris Nahrgang’s story of his quest for unity expressed through symbols etched in the Unity Pole. Enercare Centre (near the lavender cart).
8.) International stage – Be entertained by performances from around the world (Enercare Centre – Hall B). Germany’s DDC Breakdance, Asham Stompers, Sagkeeng’s Finest & Inuksuk Drum Dancers from Manitoba and Nunavut, Africa and Quebec’s Kalabante, and Canada’s Circ’Opera are some of the stellar lineup in lights.
9.) CNE Aquarama – Get out by the lake and enjoy the waterskiing extravaganza.
Special rates – Only $8 after 5pm Monday to Thursday