Another Toronto summer is flying by, but you still have lots to look forward to! The Canadian National Exhibition (AKA the CNE, AKA The EX) is a late summer tradition in Toronto. From August 17th to September 3rd, The EX is back!
How do you sum up something as fabulous as The EX? It’s a carnival, county fair, concert venue, world food pavilion and exhibition all rolled into one great big end-of-summer EXtravaganza that is not to be missed. Here are just a few examples of what you can extend this year.
Every year, more than one million people visit the CNE Food Building to sample fare from local restaurants and cuisine from around the world. No matter what you like to eat, they’ve got it. You’ll find options for vegans, the gluten-intolerant, those who eat halal, and even raw foodies. Best of all, there are plenty of under $5 options! The Food Building is open from 10am to 10pm daily. All buildings close at 7pm on Labour Day Monday.
There’s plenty more food to taste outside of the Food Building. Ribfest is back by popular demand. It will take over Bandshell Park every day from 11am to 10pm. You won’t want to miss Food Truck Frenzy, just inside the Princes’ Gates, featuring the finest food trucks in town. Wash it all down at Craft Beer Fest, which conveniently coincides in time and location with Food Truck Frenzy. The Asian Market is the CNE’s version of a popular tradition that dates back to the Chinese Tang dynasty. This Night (and day) Market will delight your senses and your sensibilities with its food, artisans and entertainment. It’s open from August 30th to September 3rd.
Over the Labour Day weekend, the final days of the CNE are filled with the thrilling sights and sounds of the Canadian National Air Show as it soars over Lake Ontario. This year is the 69th annual edition. It will feature performances by two of the best aerial acrobatic jet teams anywhere. The United States Air Force Thunderbirds open the show, and our very own Canadian Forces Snowbirds will close it out with an incredible and dramatic crescendo. See it all, September 1st to September 3rd, from 12 pm until 3 pm.
VIP tickets are available if you want to watch the show in superb style. Ticket packages include things like: tented tables and chair seating, Air Show swag bags, access to an open beer/wine bar, a catered lunch, performer autograph sessions and same day admission to the CNE.
The rest of us will just look up.
One of the main attractions of The EX is the rides. There will be dozens of thrilling, twirling contraptions for the young and the young at heart. Kids will love taking a spin on the Berry Go Round, Bumper Cars, Dragon Coaster, Lollipop Swing and many more! There are 30 rides in all at the Kiddie Midway, located at the west end of the CNE grounds, just east of Kid’s World. Height restrictions apply for some rides.
Grown ups can get their thrills on some CNE classics like The Zipper, The Twister and the Polar Express. Of course no trip to The EX would be complete without taking a turn on the Sky Ride for an elevated, scenic view of the CNE. The Sky Ride made its debut at the 2012 CNE and has become a crowd favourite. Transport yourself across the CNE grounds east toward the historic Princes’ Gates or west towards BMO Field, while being lifted up to 40 feet in the air!
You’ve heard the expression “good things come to those who wait”. That does NOT apply at The EX. This is definitely more of an “early bird gets the worm” kind of situation. You can save big (up to 38%) on advanced tickets if you buy before August 16th! Here’s the breakdown for ticket prices:
Regular Admission includes all shows and attractions, but not the rides. Advanced Tickets are $15, or $19.99 after August 16th.You’ll save big if you buy the Ride All Day Pass. This pass includes admission, attractions, exhibits and unlimited midway rides. Act before August 16th and get it for $41. Regular price is $65.99. All tickets include 13% HST. No refunds are available.
Tickets are available for purchase at participating GO Transit Stations, or you can purchase tickets online. Online tickets get you Express Entry at the CNE gate. So, unless you like waiting in line to get in, online is your best option. Express Entry is not available at vehicle gates. Take the TTC and avoid the hassle.
The Canadian National Exhibition is the perfect cure for the end-of-summer blues. Let’s go to the EX!
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