Canadian National Exhibition

Old Jul 11th, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Canadian National Exhibition

I will be in Toronto for 9 days in August, just exploring the city.

I'd appreciate any advice about a visit to the Canadian Natl. Exhibition. Is it something that an adult can have fun at? My impression is that it's a combination state fair and amusement park, which could be kind of fun.

Why do the Toronto tourist sites seldom mention it, though? Is it too thoroughly uncool?
Hal_from_NY is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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Here's lots of info about the EX.

It's not uncool at all as there is lots to do there.

I hope that the link helps...


Shark Diver
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Old Jul 11th, 2006, 05:07 PM
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NO it's not uncool at all. It's just that most of us have been going to it for more years than I care to remember. I went for sooo many years and now don't anymore. So I don't think to mention it.
I once had company from overseas and we were getting very worried about them. They didn't come home at suppertime ...we had no idea where they'd gone. Later they dragged themselves in exhausted and very happy. They wanted to know why I hadn't told them about the 'Ex'. They loved it.

Go and enjoy!
kodi is offline  
Old Jul 11th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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Hi Hal:

As a child growing up in Toronto "The Ex" was the culmination of all the wonderful things of summer. Far from being uncool , if you didn't attend one year you were definitely in the opposite camp. Even now many years later I remember the sights and sounds and smells of our annual day(s) at the Ex. Each day was themed, whether it was Music Day, Veterans Day, Kid's Day or the absolutely wonderful and packed to the rafters Food Day where the Food Building gave out free or cheap stuff.
The basics remain however with theme days, amusement rides, games, carnival events, entertainment, exhibits and buidlings where you can buy almost anything.
It unfortunately slid in recent years with respect to numbers of visitors but this seems to be changing for the better. It has perhaps lost some of its shine but many locals still look on it as a "must do" in August before school begins.
It is indeed an amusement park but the buildings are filled with different things to keep visitors amused. I don't know what a "state fair" is however if these are agricultural based fairs the Ex began its days as the biggest one in the province and still retains some aspects of this part of its past.
I am not sure why tourist sites don't mention it, but the CNE is a major part of Toronto's history,but maybe it's mostly a thing for "locals".
Here are some sites for you to check out.
Hope these help in your decision and yes even if you are an adult you can have fun at "the Ex".
keldar is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2006, 06:16 AM
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Thank you for the helpful comments.

Yes, by "state fair" I meant something that began as an agricultural expo and got bigger over the years. Not something we have in NYC.

It definitely sounds like I have to check out the Ex while I'm in Toronto.
Hal_from_NY is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2006, 08:16 AM
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I've gone every year since I was a kid and taken my own kids but finally last year, I thought "why"; it's just a waste of time.

The first Saturday was always Veterans Day with a march past which ended at the stadium but they tore the stadium down and the powers-that-be pretty well eliminated the Veterans march which some years included Vietnam vets from close American cities - when they did have it, it was shameful how few people stopped to even watch or applaud (although the Vietnam vets did get a lot of applause the year I saw them).

They spoiled it by taking away the agricultural fair atmosphere - now there are just a few farm animals rather than the judging that used to take place. There even used to be cat and rabbit shows. For judging of farm animals now and the horse show, it's the Royal Winter Fair.

They tried having a themed Country with a large exhibit each year - and ended up with a few posters, a bit of entertainment and far too many booths selling a bunch of junk made in China but supposed to be from the host country that you can buy many other places in the city.

The food building is just a tired-looking food court with nothing new. Loblaws used to test new products there - gone; Billy Bee honey had a booth but not last year. Sally Ann (I think) marshmallows which my father loved so we'd always get him a box - gone. If you like pizza, fudge and donuts though, it's the place to be.

The flower building is gone - that's all at Canada Blooms in March; there are no school art/craft exhibits and judging; there's no music building; no art gallery.

The Better Living Centre had appliances and "special" deals because it was the Ex - gone. It has booths selling stuff you don't probably want. Same with the Queen Elizabeth building; the trade centre and the Automotive building.

There are still concerts at the Bandshell - we saw Bob Newhart last year and he drew a large crowd of mostly older people who promptly went home when it was over about 9 pm.

The fun of the Ex used to be the crowds and the noise and the smells of the animals and all the new stuff - it isn't like that anymore - you wander around looking for something different and you don't find it there.

If you like midway rides with lots of kids especially at night, or if you're attending a concert at Ontario Place then go since your ticket will get you into the Ex but otherwise, I'd skip it.
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