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!