1 08/16/2013 entertainment

Let’s Go To The Ex!

Oh baby…can you believe it’s getting close to that day? I won’t even mention it as I can already hear the collective moan from my own peanut gallery at home. Is there anything that signifies the summer coming to an end more than the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)? I can remember the days of when I was a little girl and our family would always make it a end of summer ritual. I remember the Lolas and the whirling noises of the Alpine ride. I remember the FREE concerts at the bandshell and the endless bowls of 99 cent spaghetti. To this day, I still visit the Ex.

Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition

The CNE opens it’s gates today and we’ve just arrived back from cottage country just in time! The kids are really excited to try out this year’s much hyped about novelty food — the CRONUT. Last year we had a blast trying out the donut burger and chocolate covered bacon. (I’ll be posting photos on Instagram and tweeting as we spend the day there once they get out of bed)

There are some great attractions that are included in the price of admission and there is something for everyone. Here are some highlights for this year’s CNE that may help you plan out your day. (full details are listed on the official website www.theex.com)

Celebrity Chef Nadia G. Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition Celebrity Chef Nadia G. Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition

CELEBRITY CHEFS at the FOOD NETWORK CELEBRITY STAGE:  Join well known chefs like Michael Smith, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan, Bob Blumer, Susur Lee, Nadia G. and more as they will take the stage with cooking demonstrations and answer your culinary questions.

MUSIC & CONCERTS: I’ve already mentioned the Brothers Dube and the Beach Boys taking the Bandshell for this free concert on August 18th is definitely a highlight of this year’s concert series. The list of performers is long and includes Dragonette, Danny Fernandes, Massari, 5th Dimension, Frankie Avalon, Theory of a Deadman, and more.

Stunt Artists -- Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition Stunt Artists -- Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition

STUNTS & DAREDEVILS: What’s a carnival like without stunts? On daily are popular Flying Wallendas, Tic Toc Aerial Acrobatics, Cascade from France, Mike D’Urzo, and Hypnotists The Incredible Boris and Terrance B. Acrobatic daredevil Mike Wiskus is also back to give us our shock and awe. Make sure you take the kids to see the President’s Choice SuperDogs show — one of our “must see” each year.

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW: I personally have mixed emotions about the annual air show but this popular Labour Day weekend is a salute to the pilots and fine machinery in the air. The show always includes aerial displays of historical war planes, rescue mission re-inactments and, of course, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds who never fails to showcase their beauty and flying precision.

CNE ZIPLINE: New this year! Climb up 126 foot scaffolding and get a bird’s eye view of the CNE and then scream your way down more than 1100 feet over the midway! Cost per ride is $30 and you can book in advance online.

MARDI GRAS PARADE: This daily parade has become a family favourite with floats and beaded necklaces tossed into the crowd along the parade route. It’s a family friendly parade folks so keep your shirts on! The parade begins at 6pm starting at the Prince’s Gates.

By the way, if you’re in the GTA area you may want to dig out your kid’s report cards from June as there was a free admission pass given to every student — an annual ritual from the CNE.

VISIT www.theex.com for full details of what to see & do! And there’s LOTS! 

Stay tuned as I’ll give you some advice on how to navigate the CNE with small kids!



The CNE is located in Toronto at the waterfront. Ample parking available on the grounds as well as surrounding area. CNE is also TTC and GO Transit accessible.

The CNE is opened daily from August 16 to September 2, 2013. Download the official CNE APP on iTunes to help you get more out of your visit.

CNE Admission:

Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition Photo courtesy of The Canadian National Exhibition

General admission 14+… $16

60 years & better…$12

Children 5 to 13 years…$12

Children 4 years and under …. Free

CNE Family Pass (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children)…$48

  • Julie

    looking forward to tic toc. the shows at ricoh are always great!

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