The Ex Adventures

So if you are not from Canada you probably would not know this, but every year in the few weeks leading up to and including Labour Day weekend, there is a huge event downtown Toronto called the Canadian National Exhibition, or the CNE, or just “the Ex”.

It is basically a fair on steroids. Actually, it is exactly like the Calgary Stampede, only without the cowboys. And without the stampede.

I have not been to the CNE for years and years. The last time I was there I think was about 20 years ago when my cheeky little nanny took me. But earlier this week my friend Hannah texted me and asked me if I wanted to go with her, and we lured in my friend Joanna as well. So yesterday we hit up the Ex.

Let’s just get the food thing out of the way first because hooooooly crap. The food was ridiculous. One thing I regret about visiting the Calgary Stampede was holding back in the food department. I made a pact with myself to make it up at the CNE. There were so many choices that I was legitimately overwhelmed.

There were a ton of food stations throughout the grounds.

And THEN there was an entire building just dedicated to food. Every food imaginable. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, European, Canadian, American, Thai, Greek, Jamaican, Mexican, just everything. All the food in the world!

My senses were on overload. I didn’t know what to get! And I had to eat things I wouldn’t get on a regular basis. And I obviously had to go to town. But I knew I didn’t want pizza in a cone. And I’m not sure if I’m down with this new bacon sundae, or bacon on cupcakes thing. I love bacon, but not with sweet stuff.

SO. Over the course of the day I stopped by the Poutinerie and got a Mexican poutine which included fries, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and jalapenos.

It was pretty good, but I think I just prefer regular poutine. I was jealous of Hannah’s “Canadian” poutine, which included fries, gravy, cheese and BACON.

And Joanna opted for jerk chicken, fried plantains and pierogies from the Jamaican and European food booths.

Also consumed later in the day was a deep fried onion, which I split with Jo.

We had been seeing people walking around with that thing all day and were intrigued to try it out. It was pretty good, but possibly a bit overrated. We couldn’t finish it. We were both done with the onion after a few bites and kind of just kept eating out of obligation.

Good thing I had a 99 cent spaghetti to supplement that.

Plus 59 cents for parmesan cheese. Spaghetti for $1.60? Well alright then.

And rounding out my meals for the day was birthday cake remix ice cream from Coldstone Creamery.

Which is vanilla ice cream with chunks of chocolate cake and sprinkles, with fudge on top. I loooooved it.

And also a cake pop. Because I saw them and I just can’t resist their deliciousness.

So it was not a healthy day of eating, I will just say. But we walked around for about seven hours so I feel like that must counteract a little. Right?!

The great thing about the CNE is that once you are in, pretty much everything is free. So besides eating we went to the farm building, where all the animals hang out.

So many babies! I was dying over the baby sheep and pigs. I want one of each as a pet. Winnie needs a friend.

And I saw family members of my attacker from the other day…

Ugh. Bees. But I do love honey…

There were a bunch of shows going on, so we stopped by the illusionist and the hypnotist for a bit, and I have to say that both were pretty awesome. The illusionist got me with his magic many times, and I’m pretty sure the people on stage with the hypnotist were actually hypnotized.

He convinced one kid that he was Justin Bieber, and he was a pretty hilariously convincing Justin. Though his singing was terrible.

Oh and Jo, Hannah and I made friends with some firefighters.

They gave us junior firefighter stickers and let us pretend to drive the truck.

We felt all important. You are never too old to make friends with the firefighters, in my opinion.

Hannah had to leave relatively early, so Jo and I met up with our friend Lisa and her daughter Ella for some ride adventures in the afternoon.

I had originally not planned on going on any rides at all, but Ella wanted to go on alllllll the rides, so Jo and I ended up getting wristbands, and we were game. We went on all the rides.

Well maybe not all the rides, but at least 20. A lot of them I hadn’t been on since I was a kid, like the stupid Zipper.

I used to HATE the Zipper. It was my nightmare. I can still picture myself on it when I was about eight and just hating my life. I thought I could overcome my fear of it, so I went on it. If anything though, my fear was just intensified. That ride is horrible. I hated every minute of it. Joanna and I were both like “WORST. RIDE. EVER.” as soon as we got off. Never again.

But the fun houses were super fun.

And we went on the giant slide about five times.

My stomach is definitely not as young as it used to be though. It can’t handle going on rides all day as well as eating like crap, and by the time I got home I was feeling pretty blah. Oh well, it was fun and delicious, so all good.

After our ride adventures we went to this acrobatic ice show, which was pretty cool and I found myself really enjoying it. When we came out we found ourselves in the middle of a parade, and Ella got to bang on some man’s drum for a bit.

And that was pretty much it. It started to get insanely busy at around 7pm, so we decided we had enough of the Ex and hightailed it out of there. But it was a fun day for sure. The Ex is running until Monday, so if you’re in Toronto, hit that up!

I hope you guys all have a great long weekend!

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10 responses to “The Ex Adventures

  1. 1. The Zipper is the most awesome ride ever. I love it cuz it’s fun, goes upside down, and always sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any moment so it’s like you’re taking your life in your own hands for fun. The Sky Diver on the other hand, I had a bad experience with. Let’s just say the lap bar was a full foot away from my lap and I spent the entire time upside down, arms bear hugged around the lap bar, trying not to fall out of the seat and into the cage.
    2. I laughed when you said you had to get things you don’t normally eat and then the first thing was Poutine. You seem to have that every other week. I vote to rename your blog Hungry or Poutine. I will still read it if you name it that even though I will not allow gravy near my fries.
    3. Totes agree on the bacon thing with sweets. Yuck!

    • Ugh, nooo Zipper. You are crazy. But that is terrifying about Sky Diver.

      Yes but Paula, it was MEXICAN poutine. Totally different from regular poutine. Mexican poutine is not something I would normally eat. But technically I guess you are correct. I cannot resist the deliciousness that is poutine.

  2. Awww the EX!!! What What!! I loved going to the airshow when I was a kid…We try to make it out every couple of years. LOL Luv that food building way too many choices. If you are ever downtwn say @3am you must checkout Poutini’s http://www.poutini.com/ So good!!!

  3. “The Ex” visits us here in Winnipeg in the last couple weeks of June and basically, it’s guaranteed to rain at some point every single day that the Ex is here. It’s insane. I haven’t been in YEARS!

    I haven’t had meat in four months and that Canadian Poutine is screaming my name. Poutine is awesome but poutine with BACON??? Incredible. Genius.

  4. Just found your blog through Paula’s and thought I’d say hi as I am a fellow Canadian. I’ve never been to the Ex and I grew up in Ontario. I am living in Calgary now and have only been to the Stampede once….how lame am I?!

    • Ah, yes! A fellow Canadian! I had the BEST time at the Calgary Stampede. We also went to Ranchman’s while it was going on, and that will probably live on as the best bar night of my life. I loved it there! My best friend lives in Calgary 🙂

  5. We went to the Ex on Saturday, which was INSANELY busy, but super fun. As Hudson isn’t old enough for rides, we didn’t have to wait in any lines.
    I go to the Ex every year just for the food. I LOVE it! I was inspired by this post and I had some poutine; the bacon kind though. Super delicious. I also had a Beaver Tail which I also love. I wanted to get the onion thing, but Mark said I would be burping onion all night, so I passed. I was so full by the end. We were going to get a funnel cake because Mark has never had one. We couldn’t find one on our way to the exit so we didn’t have one, which my stomach was happy for.
    I haven’t been on the rides in forever. Glad to know the zipper is still just as awful. I won’t be tempted to go on that one. I too LOVE the fun houses. I totally wanted to go on them. I can’t wait until Hudson is old enough to go on the kiddie rides and I can go with him.

  6. Pingback: Eating Adventures at the Calgary Stampede | Happy or Hungry