Everyone loves summer but what’s better than ending summer with carnival games and outrageous high-calorie delicious food! I had lots of fun this year and luckily had the chance to try a bunch of the new foods featured this year. However, for those that don’t know what the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is, this will give you a brief idea.
CNE aka. The Ex, is Toronto’s annual event which takes place at the Exhibition Place usually near the end of August to the beginning of September. On top of all the fun and games, companies and retailers have a chance to gain more sales during this event. Likewise, there are also international showcases of horticulture including new technology and products.
Depending on the day and time you visit, you may have a chance to see a short parade! I believe the one I saw was in celebration of Mardi Gras and everything else. They were throwing and giving away free necklace beads. Too bad I couldn’t manage to grab one flying in the air hehe.
Personally, I love playing carnival games and trying to win big plushies (even if the chances are slim to nothing). They have many options of games from easy to hard which most are luck based of course. If you want to spend some time on mini coaster rides, you can too! They have rides from drop zone, ferris wheel, pirate ship, mirror lands, to merry-go-rounds and its gondola that goes around the park.
CNE also has many scheduled shows happening every day during certain times. Don’t miss them and remember to check their schedule! I definitely recommend seeing the Aerial Aerobics & Ice Skating show and Super Dogs show. The photo above is one of the stunt shows where some guys do high-difficulty tricks on Pogo sticks (mini outdoor performance).
Keep in mind if you are going to the popular shows like the ice skating show or Super Dogs, arrive around 30 minutes earlier or else they might not even let you in because of a full audience. Surprisingly, the skating show features our Canadian gold medalist duo of Vancouver Olympics 2010: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Big tip also for the ice skating show is to bring a thicker jacket or fleece because I almost froze up and caught a cold waiting for the show to start 🙁 BRRRR!
The exhibition place is pretty huge, and so it houses multiple pavilions from arts and crafts, to outdoor and nature, to warehouse outlets. In one of the main buildings “Enercare”, they always showcase international sand sculpting artists every year from around the world. They definitely have amazing talents and can you believe it, they would build the sculptures on the spot.
Lavender cart and mini store that is at CNE every year. Love lavenders – it smells sooooooo good and relaxing:)
Throughout your day, you will also see the most random items being sold to the most practical (eg. Jacuzzi and kitchen utensils). Just like I mentioned, check out those pairs of bacon and egg socks in the photos above – aren’t they hilarious?! For first timers, you will be amazed at the amount of things you can see at CNE. It can pretty much occupy your entire day!
You can’t leave The Ex without playing at least one of their carnival games, it’s just too fun! Some of the more addictive games include Bowler Roller and Railrunner. Bowler Roller is where you try to roll the bowling ball just pass the slope without it coming back to you. It’s really hard you know and it takes skills! Same as Railrunner, practice makes perfect but you need to try and place the pinball within the wavy part (see photo above) to win. I’m sure whoever worked at that game station has perfected this game already.
Other games also included ring toss and ball toss (which I totally love), fishing game, whack a mole, guess your age or weight, pop balloons, water shooting competition, and many more! I was super happy my special someone won me a little minion souvenir to bring home hehe:)
Now comes my favourite part that I want to talk about – food!!!
I’ll keep it fairly short and simple, and introduce all fatty yet delicious food I’ve tried this year.
Jake’s Garlic Snow Crab Fries: French fries topped a mayonnaise-like cream sauce with bits of shredded snow crab pieces, garlic and cilantro, with a lemon on the side for you to sprinkle (which you should because it tastes better with!). I really enjoyed this snack for its savoury flavour but I wish there was more snow crab and sauce haha. Only the top layer covered had most of the sauce, it was just plain fries at the bottom.
Iron Skillet’s Frosted Flake Battered Chicken on a Stick: The name pretty much says it. Tender chicken meat deep fried in frosted flakes batter. I think this was one of the best foods! Chicken was well made yet the frosted flakes matched perfectly with it even. Its taste is interesting – balance of sweet and savoury, mild sweetness cause of the flakes only.
Deep Fried Oreo Cookies: Picked this one out of the outdoor stands instead of the one inside the food building, don’t remember the name either. This one wasn’t made very tasty. I prefer.deep fried Mars bar over Oreo. The cookie was just smoothed within plain batter then sprinkled with chocolate sauce, nothing special.
Bacon Nation’s Bacon Wrapped Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This is too delicious to be true! It’s literally grilled cheese wrapped around with crispy bacon on the outside. I have to say they cooked it 100% perfect. The grilled cheese itself was mouth-watering with oozing cheese. The bacon was fried just right so that it can easily be cut with a plastic fork yet the texture remained crisp and not soggy or dry at all. This snack is highly recommended if they ever have it again next year!
Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Cheesecake: Basically your typical New York cheesecake deep fried in batter and drizzled with sugar and chocolate! Definite a very peculiar in taste with an interesting texture. It’s not bad but I didn’t find it super delicious, it seems more like a warm cheesecake covered with crispy bun. However, this is for sure filling as a dessert.
Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Philly Cheese Steak: I got this to fill my stomach as I wanted something savoury alongside the cheesecake. This turned out very delicious, full of melted cheese and soft minced beef or meat. The taste somewhat reminded me of cheese tacos and wraps but better. More importantly, it was at the right temperature while the outer layer is crisp.
All in all, enjoy the event as it only happens once a year and go before winter blows in again! This is 2015 CNE – hope everyone likes what they see and hopefully you guys also had a chance to try the foods I’ve had. Sometimes I think I’m crazy for food despite its nutritional values haha. See ya next year, maybe!