Hi there! As you may have gathered from the title, I visited the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) for the first time this year! I may have gone as a child, but this was the first visit that I can remember so I think that counts! We have been meaning to visit the CNE for many years but usually head to the cottage on summer weekends or Labour Day weekend. As many of you know, we were in Toronto this past weekend for our wedding and decided to squeeze it in amongst wedding plans.
One of the main reasons I wanted to visit the CNE was to see all of the lights and colourful attractions in the carnival areas. For those who don’t know, I have loved sparkly lights my entire life and always seek them out! We timed our visit so that we could enjoy that daylight and overlap into the beginning of the evening. But I have to admit that my favourite time was just before dusk, because all of the lights came on but the sky was still light enough to shoot daylight photos.
We spent our time at the CNE walking around the carnival area, eating foods, and visiting the various exhibit halls. We had a great time but only went on one ride since it was expensive and the lines were long. Surprisingly, one of my favourite things was attending the Dog Show! It allowed us to sit down for an hour and the dogs were insanely talented! It was really well done and was quite exhilarating for the crowd!
We really enjoyed watching people play the carnival games at the CNE. We are way to cheap to gamble on carnival games that are rigged for you to lose, but we got just as much fun watching other people. We are always surprised how much money people are willing to spend on games that only last a moment!
We were also hoping to try some ‘crazy’ foods at the CNE this year since it has built a reputation for strange eats. However, we didn’t run across anything that seemed too adventurous and stuck to the normal ice cream, donuts, and lunch foods. I kind of wish they had a cronut or ramen burger that we could have sampled but I guess that can wait until another year. We did see charcoal ice cream, which seems to be a big instagram hit based on the number of young girls posing with their purple ice creams.
We ended up selecting the gondola as our one ride since it allowed us to get a long bird’s eye view of the CNE. It wasn’t the most exciting ride but it was really fun to snap some pictures and watch everyone from above!
We ended up staying for longer than expected because we kept finding new things to look at! I don’t think it is something that we would attend annually, but I think we will make a point of visit the CNE every few years! We may also try to attend again when we aren’t planning a wedding two days later! We included some tips below to consider when planning your trip to the CNE!
- Bring snacks and drinks into the CNE since food is permitted – this will save you money on high priced foods
- Attend on labour day weekend if you want to see the airshow
- Take the gondola ride facing towards downtown so you get some great pictures with the CN Tower
- Attend the hour before dusk to get the best pictures with the carnival lights
- Bring cash as all of the food, carnival, and exhibit hall vendors only take cash
- Wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing much more walking than anticipated
- Bring a backpack so you can put your purchases away and remain hands-free
- Read the map upon entering the park and determine which areas are of interest
- Have an amazing trip and take lots of photos!