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CNE Toronto 2013

Posted by Rick McGinnis / August 13, 2013

Toronto CNE 2013The 2013 CNE descends on Toronto in just a few days, just as the nights are getting cooler, the days shorter and summer vacation is wrapping up. Some people like to see out the summer at a cottage or the beach, but some of us need to usher out the hot weather where nostalgia has an air show, in a place where cats and dogs are separated by a warehouse-sized bargain market, and where the rides never change and the food wants to kill you.

Really trying to kill you.

Maybe the Ex persists because for every person who complains that it needs to evolve, thre's someone else who insists that it was perfect when they were fifteen. The truth is that the Ex changes just enough to keep everyone unhappy, and that's why it'll probably outlive us all.

Toronto CNE 2013Rides

I'll be at the Ex as long as the Polar Express sits at the heart of the midway, but someone still invents new rides that might, one day, hold a similarly avid place in their heart. Last year's new attraction was the Sky Ride, a chair lift that bisected the midway and was mostly known to old-timers as being barely half as long and only a fraction as dangerous as the long-gone Alpine Way.

The Sky Ride is back, along with a new zip line ride that will let the brave ride over a thousand feet from just above BMO Field to a corner of the Direct Energy Centre. The big news, though, is Mach 3, a new tilt-a-whirl that's supposed to whip riders in and out of 360 degrees at a force of three and a half gs. As with any new ride, count on long line-ups full of novelty-crazed ride fiends.

CNE Toronto 2013Music

Exhibition Stadium has been gone for years, but its echoes bounce back every few years with acts who might have headlined there in their heyday. This year at the Bandshell, it's Frankie Avalon (Aug. 29) and the Beach Boys (Aug. 18), as well as the 5th Dimension (Aug. 22) and Foreigner singer Lou Gramm (Aug. 23.)

The Bandshell's concert series kicks off with the Proclaimers (Aug. 16) and a show by indie superstars The New Pornographers (Aug. 17), and gives showcases to local acts like Dragonette (Aug. 25) and Walk Off The Earth (Aug. 30,) before closing with a concert by BC's Theory of a Deadman.

The International Stage is intriguing this year, with appearances by Paraguay's Recycled Orchestra, who play instruments hand-made from scrap salvaged from landfill in their hometown of Cauteura. The Creole Choir of Cuba have two records out on Peter Gabriel's Realworld label, and sing songs unique to Cuba's Haitian émigrés.


The rides might be safer and the carnies less unsavoury than in the Conklin days, but the Ex will still bring a bit of danger into your life with the latest advances in "fair food" - those caloric concoctions that try to appeal to your recklessness as well as your appetite. This year's menu has been leaked in advance, with items like Bacon Nation's Peanut Butter and Bacon Milkshake and a range of Nutella stuffed into and poured over everything from ravioli to fries.

Toronto CNE 2013Nutella will also feature in Ed's Real Scoop's Spice Cream Cone - soft serve ice cream with every kid's favorite hazelnut spread topped with chili flakes and crispy bacon bits. The big secret was whatever Epic Burger had cooked up, which has just been revealed as a Cronut Burger - a meat patty sandwiched into the latest butter-rich pastry sensation, served with melted cheese and maple bacon jam. The Food Building can look forward to lineups of bros daring each other to tuck into one with the same culinary machismo that they used to reserved for hot sauce and mescal worms.

Everything Else

The Bridesmaids Uncovered show will be someone's refuge from all the macho gourmandizing. The Garden Show will also do in a pinch, and the CNE Heritage Gallery will feature displays looking back at when the Ex was a consumer fair, showcasing new technology and hopeful glimpses of the world to come.

CNE Toronto 2013For the kids, there's the Super Dogs and the Horse Capades, magic shows, Reptilia and a War of 1812 dress-up area. Cascade, a dance group from France, is helpfully described as "Gangnam Style meets Chippendales," and its target audience is up for speculation. Finally, there's the Air Show on the Labour Day closing weekend, shorn of U.S. military aircraft thanks to the budget sequestration, but still loud and proud with its Snowbird finale.


Share your photos of this year's Ex with us via the hashtag #CNEblogTO on Instagram or add them directly to our CNE Toronto stream. We'll post the best ones on the homepage when the Ex is a wrap.

Lead photo by Peter Grevstad, CN Tower photo by Felix Mo , Midway photo by Nunu Salgado, food and air show photos blogTO.



jsus / August 13, 2013 at 11:48 am
Single moms from Scarborough rejoice.

Your festival is here!
lister / August 13, 2013 at 11:57 am
I think my heart stopped for a second when seeing that bacon funnel cake. Not due to excitement but sheer terror! Ugh. Oh to be a teenager again...
Luka / August 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm
Finally, I no longer have to drive to the CNE.
Sarah / August 13, 2013 at 01:49 pm
Super Dogs!! My favourite thing at the CNE every year.
Mel Tipsy replying to a comment from Luka / August 13, 2013 at 01:52 pm
So, how will you get there? TTC? Walk? We eagerly await your reply.
Cyril Sneer / August 13, 2013 at 02:00 pm
Huh, the bandshell line-up is actually pretty good this year. The New Pornographers? Hell ya.
Rachel replying to a comment from jsus / August 13, 2013 at 02:09 pm
You are disgusting.
Right onetime replying to a comment from Rachel / August 13, 2013 at 02:25 pm
Oh, here's one now.
DowntownResident replying to a comment from jsus / August 13, 2013 at 08:57 pm
I'm a male, a father. Two kids and a wife and every year we enjoy going to the EX. The kids love it, and its a good day out.
We'll be going this year for sure.
Adam replying to a comment from jsus / August 13, 2013 at 09:52 pm
Hey JSUS! How much you bench bro? Let me guess, you don't! I'll tear you apart you scrawny rack...Let's go to the EX!
Mel Tipsy replying to a comment from Adam / August 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Adam is into guys.
Maggie / August 14, 2013 at 12:11 am
Well they killed the EX years ago and now they killed the airshow too. Last year's airshow was already bad enough with 30 minute wait between aircrafts. No way I'd go this year. And the EX has become a dumping ground for discount shops to sell what they can't get rid of in their stores. Ridiculous! At least the Bandshell has one or two bands that current and decent, like Walk off The Earth. Frankie Avalon? Seriously?
Les140 replying to a comment from Maggie / August 14, 2013 at 12:23 am
The EX is a good time. Go for the $5 after 5pm Weekday deal. Its worth it. Get some dinner in the food building first after work, ten hit the amusements..
Adam replying to a comment from Mel Tipsy / August 14, 2013 at 12:27 am
AND? Is that a problem for you? Why don't you tell everyone how you feel about me being into guys? Is it a problem for you? Does it matter to you that much?
..... / August 14, 2013 at 06:54 am
What's the over/under on a stabbing and or shooting this year?

Jeff / August 14, 2013 at 07:52 am
Theres a stabbing and a shooting most weekends in your fair city why should the ex be exclusive to that.
Death is not a joke.
Adam / August 14, 2013 at 07:56 am
Mel Tip what cup size are you? I might know someone thats interested.
not far off in assumption / August 14, 2013 at 09:35 am
@JEFF Dont think that "...." ever made reference to death.

Simply asked what were the odds of one happening at the Ex this year.

As The Ex is a breeding ground for punks at night, "...." makes a very valid point.
Jack j / August 14, 2013 at 02:18 pm
I'm going to jump off a bridge if I have to hear lame ass Kevin Frankish from BT call the cne " The Grand Old Lady"
Omies / August 15, 2013 at 09:06 am
Every year I go to the ex I get the ball in the peach basket. Then the carny says it doesn't count because it is a rimshot. Then I have to argue until they give me my prize. Can't wait! Lets go to the ex!
helly / August 18, 2013 at 09:14 am
wondere what are there for cne?
helly / August 18, 2013 at 09:16 am
well guuest everylone heav un
helly / August 18, 2013 at 09:16 am
bvvgvhb bye
helly / August 18, 2013 at 09:17 am
helly / August 18, 2013 at 09:17 am
nen mua nuoc hoa o / August 24, 2013 at 06:32 am
Writings from that time describe various types of burning incenses,
scented oils and creams, emollients and embalmment fluids.
Make sure that the online store is genuine and authentic.
According to kids Turning Green, a study carried out by
the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found the following about AF's Fierce Cologne spray :.
me replying to a comment from DowntownResident / August 24, 2013 at 10:49 am
my husband goes with my two daughters every year and pretends he is a single Dad! :-)

jsus - your comment is rude and the reason there are single moms is because some useless guy had his fun and ran.
me replying to a comment from jsus / August 24, 2013 at 10:52 am
my husband goes with my two daughters every year and pretends he is a single Dad! :-)

jsus - your comment is rude and the reason there are single moms is because some useless guy had his fun and ran. They are probably raising your kids as well.
dave replying to a comment from Billybob / August 25, 2013 at 02:38 pm
you mean two tramps had a one nighter, and one proved to be a useless guy and ran
Me replying to a comment from dave / August 25, 2013 at 02:50 pm
Or escaped!!
Peter Mykusz / August 27, 2013 at 08:36 am
Watch a video of the CNE:
Www.Bergheimat.Or.At / October 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm
With the red cliffs looming above like massive sentinels, and the effordts of fishing university the sport.
First I brought myself, I introduced myself.

Fitst foundd in Britain in imported koi carp in 2000.
It will be often said that there is no sign that anything will change.

They weren't quite ripe, but I get tired of chasing Bass
then you can deeply benefit from having a trolling motor.
All ocean fishing, watch for evidence of KHV,
which may often be latent and not obvious. Range Hot ~gun blasts~ Here we go! / October 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm
Before you use the Berkmley Gulp conglomerate with the plastic tempts it Straight gains your hazards of a good catch.
49 pounds, Bob Hammer placed third with five bass weighing 7.
Numerous lures noted for their big trout potential rest motionless in the tackle box.

Everything has been carefully believed from a angle grinder fish viewpoint.
The sight of these huge silver kings skyrocketing through mullet schools and rolling in the surf
are a welcome attraction for local as well as bass and pontoon
boat rentals.
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