The Canadian National Exhibition (The CNE), Toronto, Canada

Friendly? 4 out of 5

Founded in 1879 the CNE has enjoyed a distinguished history as a showcase of Canada. It was “the place” where people came to experience the “best and the brightest” from the latest innovations in technology and commercial products, to the greatest artists of the time. Although the CNE has changed over the years it continues to be one of Ontario’s great annual traditions. The CNE is currently the seventh largest fair in North America and its audience truly reflects the diversity of Toronto and the region.

The fair takes place throughout 192 acres of beautiful lakefront property at Exhibition Place, just west of Toronto’s downtown core and is Canada’s largest annual community event. Taking place over the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day, the CNE offers a wide variety of entertainment and events including concerts, celebrity chef demonstrations, an aerial acrobatics and ice skating show, a dog show, a working farm, parades and a three-day Air Show. Midway rides and games, wacky fair food as well as international food and shopping are also popular highlights of this major Toronto event. Over the course of its 18 day run, the CNE attracts more than 1.3 million people each year.

We had a great day out there. I was most looking forward to the Birds Of Prey display, but whilst this was great, the highlight for me was an indoors, spectacular acrobatics show, which was probably the best I’ve ever seen.

There was also a farm to explore, market stalls, a huge craft fair and of course the Fun Fair. Bear in mind though that although everything else was included in the entrance price of $16, you did have to pay extra for the rides. $38 got you an all day, ride as much as you want pass, whilst if you didn’t want to do that you could pay for each ride, they were approx. $5 each.

At night we saw a concert featuring the former front man from the band ‘Foreigner’, then re-visited the brightly lit fun fair and the massive food court, where the range of choice blew our mind (and sometimes turned our stomach – deep fried mars bar wrapped in bacon? What are they thinking!!!). There were plenty of decent options though, burgers, pizza, Chinese, Indian, Greek and lots more.

Overall, apart from the management being pretty rude in response to our email inquiries, it was a great experience, and one that I’d recommend to my friends and family if they want a fun day and an insight into Canadian culture. For more info, please see http://theex.com

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