Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Canadian National Exhibition

Bigger than ever, the EX makes the end of summer a fun destination and this Labour Day long weekend brings the Canadian National Exhibition to a close. The annual town fair grown massive in the big city has its periods of rise and fall and they now seem to have reinvented themselves by bringing more of what works. More stages and live musical entertainment, more beer gardens, more rides and more games and plenty of free entertainment with such fares as the show at the waterfront – the CNE Aquarama, the show in the sky with the upcoming Canadian International Airshow and a rousing, physical display of athletics on a pile of shipping containers by Rush Parkour.
Bands have also been playing in Bandshell Park, complete with a Ribfest and adult beverages, the less than stellar Casino continues to attempt to provide momma with some new shoes and animals keep getting shorn, milked or fed. Some pretty big names played in the Bandshell this year - Burton Cummings, Sam Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Colin James to name a few.
They brought in a new Toronto Sign for the occasion, it says ‘CNE’ with a maple leaf right beside the fountain. If you have questions there are some friendly people wandering with banners, or information stands sprinkled here and there, ready to answer or point the way to your destination.
The Aquarama show was a comedy adventure starring the athletes in a 'Skee School' matchup that featured ski jumping, jet blades (the coolest) and a pyramid of skiers. You crossed over Lake Shore Boulevard and sat on grandstands that overlooked the shenanigans going on in the inner harbour's cool Lake Ontario waters.
Public transit is making it easy to get to and from Exhibition Place and after 5pm on some weeknights you can get a break on the cost of admission. Street Performers have been given sweet jobs to entertain the crowds over the 18 day fair and I watched the Fire Guy charm the crowd and juggle a number of flaming torches while going in circles on an elevated stage. The CNE started August 18 and will finish on September 4, a date officially known as the end of summer. Gates open at 10am and close at 10pm with the grounds staying open until midnight on all but the last day. On the Labour Day holiday Monday the gates close at 5pm, buildings close at 7pm and the rides continue until 9pm.
Unity Pole in Heritage Court, Enercare Centre

With a simple sign the FOOD building draws many people inside looking to escape the deep fried twinkies and mars bars for more refined fare, like fish and chips. Outside the beaver tails and blooming Onions are flying off counters of the food stands. At night the hard part is walking through the lineups that snake and sometimes co-mingle where the rides are side by side or trying to make your way between people in the Enercare Centre. 

See more of the CNE after the jump. Photos by Ann and James Hamilton.

National Sand Sculpting Competition
The Fire Guy
A realistic T-Rex walking dinosaur costume

RUSH: Parkour competition stage

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