I have lived near Toronto my entire life (minus a few years here and there to be precise), but I had never been to The Exhibition. It’s shameful really. So, I decided that this year was the year! I prodded my out-of-town friends onto the GO Train, and off we went!
We had a blast; even more fun than I was hoping for from the heralded end-of-summer event. If you’re planning to catch the last two days of the festivities here are my top tips:
- Go in the Evening – the lake breeze has got nothing on the oven that is Exhibition Park, so to beat the heat (and enjoy the magical lights) plan to arrive later in the day
- Make a Meal Plan – and no, this is not to save on calories. This is to pack in a month’s worth of calories in one go. There are so many insane carnival foods to try (case in point here) that you aren’t going to be able to eat them all. Game plan? Do a bit of research, pick your favourites, and split each treat with a friend of two. I was tempted to try the Bug Bistro, but chickened out and settled for a serving of Poutine Balls, washed down with some Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreos
- Save Room for Tradition – the new and crazy foods are a blast, but temper them with tradition. We made sure to leave with a bag of Tiny Tom’s Donuts (two bags actually, who can decide between sugar and cinnamon sugar?)
- Treat the Games like a Casino – you can’t go to a carnival and not play a few games, but who’s kidding who? You know you’re going to lose. I brought along $20 specifically for blowing on games (good for about four games, much to my mom’s horror since she remembers the days when $5 was her entire CNE budget). But man did it feel good when I smashed that bottle to smithereens!
- Ride the Ferris Wheel – it’s the best ride there, hands down. You get to sit with all of your friends, get a bird’s eye view of the colourful grounds below (not to mention the rest of the city), the line moves quickly, and the ride lasts the longest
The Canadian National Exhibition is a bittersweet signal that summer is ending, but what a way for it to go. The Ex was everything I hoped for and more. I’m already putting it into my calendar for next year.
Are you going The CNE? Are you brave enough to try some of the crazy foods?
Happy last weekend of summer!