Let’s go to the Ex, oh baby.
Toronto comes alive in the summer and one tradition for me is the Ex -CNE-Canadian National Exhibition now in its 134th year. I have not gone all 134 years of course as that would make me the oldest living person, and I have not even visited yearly since I was born.
But this summer I will likely hit the Ex three times!!!
The first trip is a today, Aug 18, to BMO Field to watch my first ever professional football/soccer match with Toronto FC vs Sporting Kansas City thanks to my friend Karolyn. The stadium is inside the CNE so includes admission to the Ex as well, so we’ll take in the sights. (Update: Toronto lost 1-0 to Kansas City.)
Aug 19, I will be going back to the CNE with my boyfriend and since we are both health conscious and I am a vegetarian, it won’t be to eat the red velvet pancakes, pulled pork and Jack Daniels maple syrup concoction. And sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be partaking in the funnel cake, bacon, ice cream and carmel chocolate sauce either. According to one article that bacon dessert is 2,000 calories and 176 percent of the recommended daily fat. For some the sugar, fat and calories is half the fun, for me it’s about seeing the flash and spectacle, looking at line-ups for the outrageous food options, watching acrobats, daredevils, horses, browsing the international merchandise and being part of the crowds.
On the Labour Day long weekend, I hope to go back for my third 2012 trip to the Ex to see the Air Show, which always amazes.
One thing I definitely plan to do is hitch a ride on the new Sky Ride. I vividly remember travelling in the old Alpine Way cable cars at the Ex. One year, back in 1978, I was with my stepmom, younger brother Shawn and baby sister Rose who was a toddler then. My dad declined to join us and waited for our return at the entrance of the ride. Little did we know it was only one way trip across the fair grounds, either west or east, but not roundtrip.
My stepmom had changed Rosie’s diaper in the Alpine Way ride, which was a series of enclosed cable cars, and did not have time to retrieve the stinky evidence when we were ushered off the ride after the one-way trip. We told the ride usher about the diaper in the cable car that had now moved on to new, unsuspecting riders, but he just shrugged that mishap off. We also explained to the teenage boy who ushered riders on and off, that my dad was waiting for us back at the other end of the Ex and that we didn’t know this was a one-way trip. Rather than make my stepmom trek us three kids all the way back through the Ex to my waiting dad, the operator kindly let us back on to ride back to my father.
So with this memory in tow, I am so excited to get a bird’s eye view of the CNE grounds again from the new Sky Ride. I am sure when I am on the ride, I will reminisce about my childhood trips to the Ex with my siblings, who are now spread out across North America. Too bad the view won’t stretch all the way to New York and San Francisco where my sister Rose and brother Shawn now live.
Recalling fond memories with loved ones and creating new ones with new loved ones is worth the price to the Ex even if I don’t partake in the bacon, pork, ice cream or alcohol.
What’s on your hit or miss list for the Ex this year?