The CNE signals the end of summer
When I was a kid, I always knew that summer was almost over when the advertising for the CNE started. Going to the Ex was a summer tradition in my family for a number of years, and it was always a bittersweet experience. I loved the rides, the midway games and the food building, but it was always a reminder that summer was coming to an end and school would be starting again soon.
The Canadian National Exhibition, or “The Ex” as it’s more commonly called, is held at the end of August every summer in Toronto at Exhibition Place. Founded in 1879, the CNE is one of the 10 largest fairs in North America. In 2016, over 1.54 million people visited the Ex, over 18 days. That’s a lot of people!
I haven’t been back to the Ex much as an adult, and I know my kids won’t have the same memories of the Ex when they grow up. Maybe I’ll take them this year, before they get too old to want to hang out as a family any more. I remember I was about 14 or 15 when I was allowed to go the Ex without my parents. Was the world a different place back then or does it just feel that way?
Much of what I remember about the Ex is still there – there are midway rides and games, a variety of exhibits, animals, shopping, the air show and of course… lots of food. Over a million people visit the Food Building at the CNE every summer, and kids (and adults) who love junk food certainly have no shortage of options here. There will also be a Food Truck Frenzy event from August 25 to 27, Ribfest daily and an East Coast Kitchen Party for those looking for even more food options.
In recent years, food vendors have tried to outdo each other by coming up with the most bizarre combinations of food, and this year should be no exception. With last year’s CNE food offerings including such creations as the Churro Burger, Deep Fried Cookie Dough Balls and Poutine Corn Dogs, adventurous eaters are sure to find something they’ve never tried before at this year’s exhibition. Just don’t expect a lot of healthy food options!
The 2017 Canadian National Exhibition
This year’s CNE runs from Friday, August 18 to Monday, September 4.
If your kids like midway rides, then you’ll want to take advantage of the CNE’s discounted pricing only available before the Ex opens. Until August 17th, you can purchase discounted tickets good for any day the Ex is open. Tickets can be purchased online at TheEx.com or at Union Station or any Go Station.
Advance ticket prices are:
General Admission tickets: $15
Ride All Day Pass, which includes grounds admission and unlimited midway rides for one person: $40 ($21 savings)
Regular general admission to the Ex is $19 for ages 14-59 and $16 for ages 5-13 and seniors. A Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children) is $59. General admission tickets do not include any rides. A Ride All Day pass is an additional $42.
Visit TheEx.com for more info on hours and pricing.
Some of the other activities and attractions that tweens might be interested in at the Ex include the SuperDogs show, the air show, an aerial acrobatics and ice skating show, parkour competitive demonstrations, a Gaming Garage, Rising Star Talent Competition, street performers and exhibits like sand sculptures.
Do you plan on going to the Ex with your kids this summer?
At what age do you think it’s appropriate for parents to let their kids hang out without close adult supervision in a place like the CNE?
About Kathy Sima
Kathy is a blogger and freelance writer and mom of two teens who gave up her career as a financial advisor when her son was diagnosed with autism at age 3. When it comes to parenting, Kathy truly believes there is strength in numbers and knows that sharing stories and strategies with other parents has helped keep her sane (so far!)