Oh, the CNE, steeped in memories, noise, bright colours and questionable food choices! A summer doesn’t feel quite complete without a visit.
This year, we went last Monday evening with our friend Andrea. It was a good time, for sure.
For readers from afar, the ex has been running near the waterfront of Toronto for 140 years, having begun as an agricultural fair. It is said to be the biggest annual fair in Canada. (I previously wrote more about its history and its supposed haunted status in this post, if you’d like more details.)
↑ It was dinnertime when we got there, so began in The Food Building, where we shared a serving of Pierogies and some fried chicken that came in a big waffle cone. It was jammed in there, so we had that to start and then ventured out. ↑
↑ Shopping is part of the fun and we each ended up getting something — I got some beeswax votive candles at a booth with all things bee related (including some live bees in a hive-box). Nick got a good leather belt. ↑
↑ We checked out an exhibit of “National Geographic 50 Greatest Photographs“, where they displayed the photos accompanied by a write-up by the photographer, describing the scenario under which each picture was taken. It was beautiful and very moving; I was surprised to find myself with tears in my eyes at one point. The exhibit is travelling — click on their site here to see if it will be coming your way. ↑
Here I am posing beside The Princess Margaret Fountain. Princess Margaret pushed the button to start the water flowing for the first time, back in August of 1958.
We were still hungry, so found the “Tiny Tom Mini Donut Portable Factory”. These kiosks, where they make the little donuts right there in front of you, is a CNE classic, having been offered there for 60 years, since 1959. Their popularity doesn’t seem to be waning in any way, as there was quite a line up. If you’re interested, there’s a cheerful little video about the history of this multi-generation family business on their site here – “Tiny Tom Donuts, where bite size is the right size“!
We also shared a corn-dog. I’m not sure if these are found around the world, but if you’re wondering, it’s a wiener on a stick, that’s been dipped in a cornbread batter and deep fried. And now, I owe the corn-dog an apology. While my siblings simply had to have one during every family trip we took to the CNE as kids (and even now … see my sister getting one a couple of years ago in this photo), I personally kept my distance from them, opting instead for that bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce you get in the food building. Corn-dogs just did not sound good to me. So, this was my first time tasting one and have to say that they are really quite nice. I’ve missed out all these years, but will be sure to hit-up the corn-dog stand at the CNE from here on out!
A look at the midway and arcade …
Before calling it a night, we found the exhibition of silk lanterns, called “Legends of Silk Road“. These detailed sculptured were huge and, displayed as they were in a large space that was pitch black, aside from the lights they themselves cast, they were beautiful.
↑ To give them scale, Jack climbing the beanstalk there was about the size of an adult. ↑
While architecture is unlikely the focus of a visit to the CNE, I’ll end with a few shots of some of the lovely old buildings that are all over the ground.
Thank you for reading. xo loulou