Sunday, October 23, 2016Scattered Clouds 8°C
Eat & Drink

The food at the CNE is trying to kill you

Posted by Rick McGinnis / August 16, 2012

Bacon Nation's BBBLTThe Chinese calendar says it's the year of the dragon, but at this year's Canadian National Exhibition, it's definitely the year of the pig. Bacon is the theme of the stunt food being featured by several vendors at the Ex, in sweet and savoury combinations that double down on smoky flavour as well as calories.

At a media preview yesterday, last year's stunt food centrepiece, the Krispy Kreme burger, sat mostly ignored as the crowd dared and double dared themselves to chow down on pork products used as everything from garnish to main ingredient, with the most audacious offerings coming from the forthrightly named Bacon Nation booth.

Bacon Nation's Bacon ExplosionFair food traditionalists can still get their deep-fried butter, but caloric adventurers will have to go straight for Bacon Nation's Bacon Explosion - a pork roll stuffed with bacon bits and covered with a bacon weave and a Jack Daniel's glaze, sliced and served on a bun. Think of it as porchetta with 'roid rage if you will, but the description overstates its menace; it's a hearty but basic meal that's actually gourmet compared to most Midway fare.

Bacon Nation's bacon sundaeBacon Nation's other offerings are a bit more showy - a beer-battered and bacon-wrapped deep fried hot dog, a BLT that gilds the lily with both regular and Canadian bacon and a healthy dollop of Nutella, a pair of bacon-spiked baked potatoes, and their Bacon Chips: Thickly cut bite-sized bacon pieces fried nearly crisp and served with a Jack Daniel's dipping sauce.

Just Cone It's offeringsBacon and Nutella come together again at the Just Cone It! booth, where they're put together in a bread dough cone, and join a menu that also boasts cone-shaped pizza, shepherd's pie and Philly cheese steak. Bacon also gets a go at our sweet tooth in a Bacon Sundae from Bacon Nation (soft-serve ice cream, hot fudge and caramel sauce, bacon and bacon bits on a funnel cake,) and Northwest Fudge Factory's remarkably subtle bacon fudge, which adds smoky bacon flavour to a high quality fudge free of the grainy, sugary bite of the cheap stuff.

Far East Taco's tablePig appears again as pork belly in Far East Taco's Korean-themed offerings, but the freshness of their menu - which also features a version filled with bulgogi - might offend food masochists. Bright with Asian slaw, kimchee and coriander, Far East's booth will probably appeal more to Ex visitors who want to hit the rides without worrying about the effect g-forces and centrifugal force might have on the pork and pork by-product counterweight in their belly.

Thyme & Olive's signature dishThe suitably-named Thyme & Olives booth features Lebanese food built around baked goods from Haddad Bakery in Concord, and features a Lebanese pizza or mankoushe topped with - yes - olives and thyme, a tasty and fully vegetarian alternative to the bacon onslaught. Even healthier is the raw food being offered by Vie, who tempted media with their dehydrated corn tortilla topped with intensely flavoured pastes and creams made from red peppers, cashews and walnuts. For sweets, they served a coconut cupcake flavoured with banana cream and pomegranate.

Vie Raw Food's pomegranate cupcakeStunt food aside, the Ex is getting noticeably ambitious with its food offerings, making room for fresh fruit smoothies from Pita Pit and croquettes and other finger foods from Dutch Frites. They'll also be hosting Food Truck Frenzy on the weekend of August 24-26, lining Princes' Boulevard with a food truck rally featuring Fidel Gastro, Buster's Sea Cove, Food Dudes, Blue Donkey Streatery and more.

With the tiniest bit of room left, I needed to see evidence of the ironclad food rule that bacon makes everything better, so I went back to Bacon Nation's table to try their update of an old fair food chestnut - the deep-fried Mars bar, wrapped in bacon and fried in a beer batter. I didn't want to like it, but after two bites I knew I'd be craving the evil, tasty thing months from now, all the while repeating over and over that it's only once a year.



Brent / August 16, 2012 at 01:16 pm
Bacon, sweet bacon...Gotta love the EX.

As with the EX, this stuff should only be consumed once in a blue moon ;)
Anthony / August 16, 2012 at 01:30 pm
I really only go to the EX for the food. This year sounds interesting.
Cyril Sneer / August 16, 2012 at 01:39 pm
Wow, the first 2 comments weren't a bunch of no-fun jerks complaining!

Yes, this stuff is great to try out as a treat once in a while.
Catherine / August 16, 2012 at 01:50 pm
Actually, there is going to be an awesome RAW food booth there this year! Don't be fooled, just because it's healthy, doesn't mean it doesn't taste amazing!
ROD / August 16, 2012 at 02:23 pm
you'd think bacon had only recently been invented.
Syncros / August 16, 2012 at 02:25 pm
RAW food booth? you mean the piglets in the petting zoo?

iva / August 16, 2012 at 03:20 pm
You are what you eat...bacon lovers are pigs
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from iva / August 16, 2012 at 03:28 pm
Oink oink.
Andrew / August 16, 2012 at 03:49 pm
Also available this year:
Matt / August 16, 2012 at 03:53 pm
seems to me there's a wider selection of stuff this year. stoked!
Brent replying to a comment from Cyril Sneer / August 16, 2012 at 04:13 pm
Who was complaining? I wasn't
surgeon general / August 16, 2012 at 04:31 pm
I think food like this should have a tax similiar to cigarettes and alcohol. Using awful for your health food to promote a family fair is extremely dubious, the private sector food merchants gain and the health care system pays. There is absolutely no reason to be consuming such empty yet fattening food.
Mark replying to a comment from surgeon general / August 16, 2012 at 04:55 pm
No one is forcing you to eat it. Don't like it, don't eat it. Very simple, even you should be able to understand the concept.
Pig head / August 16, 2012 at 05:47 pm
The OHIP system will not take a hit eating this bacon stuff. If only
Once and a while Have some fun.
scarbz / August 16, 2012 at 05:53 pm
The single moms from Scarborough that rule the CNE, are going to love this.
Chowhoundgta / August 16, 2012 at 08:58 pm
In moderation, eating any of these once can't be the end of your healthy life.
MrsPotato / August 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm
Where are these places located?
Are they scattered throughout the grounds?

Last year I wandered around the food building and didn't find anything good. I was obviously looking in the wrong place ...
Jason / August 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm
Wow. I had a pizza in a cone in Montreal at KonoPizza and it was awesome. Good to hear that it'll be at CNE, though they don't seem to be the originals from Italy/Montreal.
Dizzy replying to a comment from surgeon general / August 17, 2012 at 08:42 am
He's calling it "stunt food" for a reason. This is just draw the crowds, get people to post wacky pictures all over twitter/facebook fare. Good clean fun. I'm sure nobody will go home and start replicating the bacon explosion with a deep fried butter side for sunday dinner every week. The more food at the Ex the merrier! I'm a little scared at how much I want to try some of those cones this year though.

(Having said all that, isn't the OMGbaconservedinaninappropriateway! craze ready to be over yet?)
Joanne / August 17, 2012 at 10:02 am
Let me in, let me at it.
Gary / August 17, 2012 at 01:27 pm
Sheeple!!! Never mind childhood obesity in Canada, Never mind the health complications due to meat ie: cancer, heart disease etc.. Never ming that pigs are intelligent beautiful creatures in which they are horrifically treated and slaughtered to be sold here for profit. Never mind that there are foods in which are healthier with no animal abuse that could be served. All of these are reasons enough to stop the meat industry from their despicable promotions but the fact that we canadians just don't even stop and think about all of this, that we are just sheep to the slaughter is an embarrassment. The meat industry just loves you, mindless consumers that even smile as they take part in this atrocity. And some of you actually call yourselves parents! This is what we are teaching the next generation. You want something new, try thinking for yourselves!! How's that for a novel idea?
rick mcginnis replying to a comment from Gary / August 17, 2012 at 01:53 pm
You're joking, right?
Gary replying to a comment from rick mcginnis / August 17, 2012 at 02:05 pm
If you even have to ask if I'm joking, that tells me you need to inform yourself. I'm not being condescending to you at all. Over 30% of children in Canada are obese, did you know that? Factory farms in Canada have virtually no enforcement and is the reason why animals are treated without any care and this is proven with the video evidence by Twyla Francois who was turned away by our Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, yes, the very minister who spent 271K in two years of tax payer money on travel expenses making Bev Oda's expensive orange juice a wal-mart special. Lastly, I hope I don't have to explain that pork is one of the worst foods for humans, this is common knowledge. Once again, please don't take my comments as rude, I don't mean to be.
Sal / August 17, 2012 at 02:48 pm
yes we know all of that, and we still want to eat bacon.

now what?
Ace McNugget replying to a comment from Gary / August 17, 2012 at 03:20 pm
>Over 30% of children in Canada are obese, did you know that?

No, most statistics show around 15-25% children are overweight or obese. I probably don't need to tell you that overweight and obese are two seperate things. Hardly the "over 30%" obesity that you claim.

>Factory farms in Canada have virtually no enforcement and is the reason why animals are treated without any care

they are factory farms, the clue is in the name. I would hope they process the meat in a hygienic manner that falls within the safe levels established by the province. Apart from that why should the animals be treated with care at this point? They are about to be killed and, later, eaten.

>Lastly, I hope I don't have to explain that pork is one of the worst foods for humans, this is common knowledge.

No this really is not common knowledge, probably because this is not true.

Note that none of the three main points you made (not including your wild conspiracy-theory detour taking in public official travel expenses and wal-mart) are not connected in any way. Yet by spouting these three opinions together you are obviously trying to link them. Very childish.
Gary replying to a comment from Sal / August 17, 2012 at 03:24 pm
Of course you do, that's whats known as child abuse! Animal abuse! Poor roll models! And why, just because you like to eat bacon..... hmm? You lack strength, will power and the need to do the right thing. So continue doing what you're doing and let others educate your children properly so they don't die at younger ages then their parents which is now happening for the first time in history, feel good about eating bacon now? Oh, and hypocrisy comes into play because how animals are treated is not the way you would like to be treated, am I wrong?

Once again, I don't mean to be rude at all but it just becomes tiring when adults don't do what's right for children out of sheer laziness.
sprite replying to a comment from Gary / August 17, 2012 at 03:52 pm
Actually, equating letting your child eat meat as equal to child abuse is pretty f*ing rude.
Gary replying to a comment from sprite / August 17, 2012 at 04:07 pm
Unfortunately, it's not! Why do you think children are obese today? It's not by eating carrots is it? It's fast food chains, greasy foods and dairy. I just interviewed a very well known doctor and researcher and without question he said meat and dairy are the leading cause of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the list goes on. Not sure why this is so hard to believe when the evidence speaks for itself. Also, if we want to inform ourselves and discuss issues fairly and openly, there is no need for vulgar language. I try to be respectful so I hope others do the same. Thank you.
Gary replying to a comment from Gary / August 17, 2012 at 04:27 pm
Let me add this. Smoking regularly will cause health complications, right? We know this to be true. We also know that eating fast food meat, pork, bacon and red meat cause health complications. So tell me, what's the difference between a parent giving their child a cigarette or meat when the outcomes are negative for both? They are both child abuse.

What we have here is called, indoctrination. We the public have been fooled by the meat and dairy industry for years to thinking this is good for us and it has become such a staple in our lives that we not only accept it but we defend it even though the proof is right in front of our eyes. This is why I advocate for children to get off to a good start in life by eating properly otherwise they become addicted to the wrong foods and the results are what we see today. An obesity epidemic that not only is extremely physically harmful for children with weight, diabetes and heart problems but psychologically they are defeated, lack confidence, feel terrible and then depression. These kids need good role models and that's you and me.
Ratpick / August 17, 2012 at 04:38 pm
I dunno, Gary. My kids LOVE bacon/nutella cones. I don't see what's wrong that a few times a week (as dessert, of course).

rick mcginnis replying to a comment from Gary / August 17, 2012 at 04:54 pm
Jeez, Gary, my kids are practically addicted to Bacon-Os for breakfast. Of course, you have to mail order them from Texas, but I hear Costco will be stocking them soon, and I'm sure we can go through at least a family pack a month! And my kids are nowhere near obese - the toddler was only 90 lbs. until we cut fresh fruit from her diet.
rick mcginnis / August 17, 2012 at 05:34 pm
Symone / August 17, 2012 at 06:26 pm
@gary how is giving a child a piece of meat child abuse. If the child is eatin g the same thing everyday, then there is a problem. It's all about moderation.
Child obesity mainly falls on the parents and the school systems in my opinion
Symone / August 17, 2012 at 06:28 pm
@Rick McGinnis why would you cut fruit from a child's diet ?
Gary / August 17, 2012 at 07:25 pm
Hi Everyone,
Moderation is very important. If a child eats meat occasionally with a balanced nutritious diet, then they won't encounter many problems. When I say it's child abuse, I'm speaking of children who are on their way to becoming, are over weight or are fed a diet of meat and dairy on a regular basis.

Remember, just because they look healthy on the outside doesn't mean they are on the inside. It's like smokers, They look fine for years until the dreaded day they're told the bad news. Well that cancer didn't happen overnight.

So when people ask me about meat and ice cream in moderation, I asked them if smoking is okay in moderation. People really don't understand that the meat today is much different (chemicals, hormones, antibiotics) then years before and they also come in the form of big macs, baconators etc. loaded with fats and carbs. This is why obesity in children is running rapid, it really is a major problem.

Can you feed your child meat and dairy in moderation? The answer is you can and I'm sure if the rest of the diet is healthy they'll be fine and I wouldn't consider this child abuse. Once again, as long as it is monitored and filled with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. But, meat and dairy are simply not healthy for kids or adults. We think they are because we grew up with it but a lot of people die because of their diet which involves meat and dairy regularly.

Cancer, heart disease, stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, these are the killers of our parents, where do you think this comes from? The percentage that it's genetic is very small, its diet.

People also need to know that meat and dairy are very addictive. In Edinburgh, researchers used the drug naloxone to block opiate receptors in volunteers and the result was the loss of
appetite for meat up to 50% and the same went for cheese. This is why when children consume meat and dairy, they are actually becoming addicted to it and why it's so hard for people to give up their meat. Just like tobacco.

There are meatless substitutes for everything, bacon, burgers, hotdogs, chicken etc. As for dairy, milk can be replaced with much healthier items like almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk etc. and the same goes for ice cream. So why not give your kids these healthier treats in moderation?

Many people also don't realize that we are not meant to consume milk after we are weened off. We are the only species on the planet that does and to make matters worse, we take it from another animal where their milk is not remotely the same as human milk. Did it not strike you as odd that over 70% of the entire world population is lactose intolerant? That's because we're not meant to have dairy after we are weened off. Many kids and adults have problems with their stomach, intestine, allergies etc. and are given prescription drugs when the problem is their intake of dairy.

Okay, I'm sure you're all wondering when I'll stop talking so I'm done, thank you for your time.
bob / August 17, 2012 at 08:03 pm
Skip the prep and just bite into a slab of lard.
Nick H / August 17, 2012 at 08:04 pm
How about deep fried turd? Sure it's turd, but it's deep fried!
Symone / August 17, 2012 at 08:53 pm
Organic is the way to go!
Eric26 replying to a comment from iva / August 17, 2012 at 09:17 pm
Works for me. Pigs are lovely, and Canadian pork is the safest in the world.
Gary / August 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm
"Canadian pork is the safest in the world".....oh thank you for that humor, I needed a good joke! Here's another one. A guy walks into a bar and sees a bunch of canadians eating pork and says "I heard you pig eaters are apathetic and ignorant" the group replies "Weez don't know and weez don't care".

Ahh, the one thing you can count on with certain people who don't want to grow is that they're predictable and can cure insomnia with their babble.

Okay, I have to leave so I wish all of you the best.
Symone / August 18, 2012 at 06:19 pm
If its not organic, I don't consider it safe... They inject meat in Canada with all sorts of hormones and chemicals.
Eric26 / August 18, 2012 at 06:51 pm
There hasn't been a single case of trichinosis being found in our pork in more than 15 years, but don't let facts get in the way of your ranting.
Aaron replying to a comment from Gary / August 18, 2012 at 07:31 pm
Gary, you seem as if you'd be the most super-fun guy to hang out with! If not, at least the most super-fun guy to be constantly harangued by while out with! Though I doubt there's anyone who could back me up on this..
Dave replying to a comment from Gary / August 19, 2012 at 12:13 am
Gary will soon realize his parents money will run out
Bacon / August 19, 2012 at 01:39 am
You're a troll Gary, go eat some pork and get laid already. You granola hippies are really annoying. Lol
Knowledge is good for you replying to a comment from Gary / August 19, 2012 at 01:58 am
Gary, your comments clearly reveal that you know nothing about nutrition and would rather try to shame and guilt other people into following your dogma instead of gaining some knowledge yourself.

Your assumption that obesity in children is linked to consumption of animal fat and protein is unfounded. The metabolic syndrome is caused by consumption of carbohydrates, more specifically, sucrose and fructose-glucose. Found in fruit juice, cereals, chocolate milk, candy, soft drinks, sports drinks, many crackers, chips, salad dressing, ketchup... you get the picture... consumption of anything containing refined sugar causes insulin levels in the blood to spike as it tries to process the molecules, your body converts the excess sugars to fat, this fat gets stored in your cells, and if sugar is part of your regular diet, your body continues to store these excess sugars as fat, thereby making you fat, and eventually your insulin becomes less effective at lowering your blood sugar, resulting in insulin resistantance, aka. Type 2 diabetes.

Now keep calm and let other people eat their bacon in peace.
Eric26 / August 19, 2012 at 04:02 pm
To be fair, processed meats like bacon should be consumed in small quantities and infrequently, but I still love a pork loin stuffed with spiced pecans and peaches.
Me / August 19, 2012 at 07:00 pm
"Running rapid"

BWAHAHAHAAA!!!!! Obesity should be in the Olympics!!
Alex / August 21, 2012 at 09:56 am
Bacon shmacon. Everyone knows the best fair food at the Ex are those Tiny Tom doughnuts. Only once a year, but soooo good.
Rick / August 21, 2012 at 10:35 am
People, people;

Gary needs to be castrated.

End problem now and for future generations.
Michael replying to a comment from Gary / August 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

The thing with people like Gary is that they have it too good in their life, that the spend countless hours blabbing about 1st world problem's; meat is bad, more bike lanes downtown, "when's the next zombie march?", and "how come there are no good vegan shoe places in Toronto?"

These people are truly pathetic, they bitch and complain about everything, this is also what happens with their parents coddle them while being raised.

People want to have fun, eat food that you could only dream of, and share the experience with their friends and family. Then Gary the vegan nazi has to rain on their parade…. What a simple fool.
Alex replying to a comment from Michael / August 21, 2012 at 01:08 pm
Hey, don't let other people bring you down. This is a comment board on the internet, just having one whackjob post or complain is actually really good.
Welshgrrl / August 23, 2012 at 04:09 pm
What's that joke again ... How can you tell if someone's a vegan? Don't worry they'll certainly tell you!
Inga / August 23, 2012 at 05:42 pm
The wonderful part of attending a venue as the Canadian National Ex. You have a vast selection of options. For under $20.00 my family enjoyed a lovely healthy mid eastern vegetarian meal for dinner consisting of taboulli salad, cucumber tomato and chick pea salad, long grain rice with lentils (complete protein) stewed eggplant tomato and chic pea falafals, hand made with lots of fresh parsely & onions and oh yes beat salad. p.s. I love onions and was quite excited go hear of a booth devoted to this wonderful this veg - Heart break and pain in the wallet. Nothing worth ordering. Deep fried bunk! $10 for one large deep fried onion are you kidding me :)
WakeUp / September 3, 2012 at 10:47 am
If you want to know the truth about consuming meat and dairy products, watch the film: 'Forks over Knives'.

Direct correlation between meat & dairy consumption and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc, etc.

These conditions can not only be prevented through a plant based diet but actually REVERSED in a short period of time in some cases. They actually show how a certain protein in milk (caseine) can turn ON and OFF tumor growth.

If you're doing what everyone else is doing, you're probably doing the wrong things. If you eat what everyone else eats, you get what everyone else gets.

Gary is right, sorry.
anne / September 28, 2012 at 09:12 pm
Truth is we are all going to die! I work in health care and had the pleasure of caring for an elderly gentleman who live vegan all his life. He ran everyday, never smoke a cigarette never tasted alchohol yet my dear friend died from stage 4 oral cancer! Now please tell me how his healthy lifestyle helped him. I have cared for many vegetarians vegans and meat eaters and guess what my friends? Cancer doesn't give a fuck!
Logan DUQUETTE / November 1, 2012 at 09:30 am
November 1, 2012 / 09:17

I went down to the CNE the night before it opened and they were throwing the rides together so fast.
There is no way it was safe This year what 2 people got knifed and one bomb went off. I'd say the CNE is just about done. With Wonderland a clean Amusement Park That the rides are there year round and safety check all the time not 5 minutes before the CNE opens. The fact that every year someone gets hurt on the
rides It was the swings releasing a bunch of kids a year ago. I know a vendor at the CNE for 16 years.
He went down set up his tent and stock only to be told to tear it down and leave by there manager MIKE -
FOR NO REASON HE SOLD THERE SPOT THE CNE SHOULD BE TORN DOWN my memories are of people getting hurt every year.
November 1, 2012 / 09:23

The CNE is a filthy pigpen. I can't believe people eat food at the CNE

November 1, 2012 / 09:25

Hook up the airshow with another event and close the C.N.E. I like the airshow The C.N.E. is old and run down and very smelly.
Brian / July 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm
CNE had a pediphile molest a child in the DIRECT ENERGY BUILDING WASHROOM I was an Exibitor and we received a
WARNING about a Chinese man in a white shirt who had molested a child in the bathroom. In the news another
guy got knifed in the Parking lot and a small explosion top of the 2012 CNE The rides are all not there the day before Thats right they get put up in one day so the INSPECTORS DON'T have a chance to inspect them very good. Then they bullshit the numbers and say every year attendance goes up We were there for 15 years the last 2 years we lost money. The customers complain every summer IT'S A PIGSTY and disgusting.
WONDERLAND IS 100% cheaper and cleaner SAFER for KIDS / November 5, 2013 at 11:41 am
This huge carp has literally taken the bait again after it was caught by blind angler Sheila Penfold,
57, from Wandsworth, London, on a similar trip to Spain last year.
Again the weight and then on the other side of the lake.

And to really learn like what to do? It is important for casting, you will find several fish fihing
rod quiver holdall that could be added for an angler.

Of course, we would call her back because we don't want her to get away.
Elizabeth from Etobicoke / August 23, 2014 at 09:34 pm
Bacon! For one more year at the Canadian National Exhibition, it's featured at many vendors in the Food Building - as a topping on pizza or a hamburger, or a filler in a sandwich, and more. A few years ago, one of the weird foods for sale was chocolate-coated bacon. There's a vendor, which opened two years ago, and which is dedicated to this food - it's Bacon Nation.

After all, Toronto is still nicknamed Hogtown.
Other Cities: Montreal