Maybe it’s the midway madness, the zany food concoctions, or the plethora of international shopping and culture that bring you to the Canadian National Exhibition year after year. Whatever the appeal, Canada’s largest fair has been a crowd pleaser for 137 years strong. Here are 10 reasons to check out the Ex. Also, visit the special Time Travel with the CNE website for a captivating photo history of the CNE throughout the years. Cneheritage.com
1.) Food – There’s no point in keeping to your diet because once you walk through the Princess Gates your options will include greasy and sugary. With the countdown on to the first day of school, the CNE knows better than to ruin our fun. Corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes and ice cream waffles are all CNE staples. Dig into some nontraditional choices at Far East Taco in the Food Building for the Baonana Split or deep fried rice pudding at Fran’s.
2.) Midway – The lights and sounds and energy of the midway will take you back to your youth. But who says the midway is only for kids? From the Ferris wheel to the Fire Ball, whatever your thrill threshold; it’s easy to get a ticket to ride.
3.) Warrior’s Day Parade (August 22) – The CNE has always honoured our WWI and WWII veterans in the annual Warrior’s Day Parade, held on the first Saturday of the fair. The CNE is most fitting because it used to be the site of Stanley Barracks, which housed British troops, and was later used to train members of the North-West Mounted Police and the military, and for post war housing. In this, the 94th edition of the parade, the veterans and Canadian Armed Forces marching in the parade are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
4.) Shopping – Shopping at the Ex is like travelling around the globe, but no passport is required. From the International Pavilion to the Arts, Crafts & Hobbies Pavilion and the EnerCare Centre, your cultural shopping spree will take you to Peru, Hong Kong, India and beyond.
5.) Music – Admission to the grounds includes concerts at the CNE Bandshell every evening, with headliners such as Alan Doyle, Foghat, and Rick Springfield. More live bands perform at the Northern Comfort Saloon. The country music bar is hosting acts from the likes of Kelly Prescott and Jaydee Bixby.
6.) Air Show – Always a highlight, and sadly a sign that the Ex is coming to a close, The 66th Annual Canadian International Air Show soars over Lake Ontario Labour Day weekend.
7.) Sherlock Holmes – Mystery fans get an opportunity to test their British sleuthing skills at the Sherlock Holmes exhibit in the Heritage Court Gallery, EnerCare Centre (formerly Direct Energy Building).
8.) Bon Voyage! Aerial Acrobatics & Ice Skating Show – Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir perform alongside aerial acrobatic performers in two spectacular shows daily in the Ricoh Coliseum. Shows at 2pm and 5pm.
9.) First World War Comes to Life Exhibit – Check out the impressive display of vehicles from the Great War and the Canadian Armed Forces, in the Enercare Centre.
10.) Food Truck Frenzy & Craft Beer Fest – It’s a foodie food truck extravaganza! New this year is the Craft Beer Fest. Eleven regional master craft brewers will be onsite alongside 23 sizzling food trucks serving up authentic international flavours. (August 28-30 only.)
Special rates – Only $6 after 5pm Monday to Thursday