toronto cne

What the CNE looked like in the 1970s

The CNE of the 1970s was a technicolor super dream of deep-fried food, neon lights, and eye-popping paint. For 18 days every year, the Tornado rollercoaster hurtled around its metal track, the Sky Diver ferris wheel tipped screaming riders through endless, nauseating barrel rolls, and the erratic Wild Mouse dispensed whiplash injuries.

Elsewhere, the popular menagerie included everything from bright orange Honey Dew Orange Drink to bingo and underwater diving displays. Some of the attractions live on, others have (sadly) disappeared as the fair has evolved.

Behold, the psychedelic CNE of the 1970s.

toronto cne 1970s

Aerial view of the CNE grounds, the Princes' Gates, and the city skyline minus the CN Tower. August 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

Partial view of the Wild Mouse rollercoaster and the streetcar line entering the CNE grounds.

toronto cne 1970s

CNE grounds and midway, Aug. 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

Aerial view including a streetcar loop packed with PCC streetcars.

toronto cne 1970s

Aerial view of the Sky Diver Ferris wheel from the Shell Tower observation deck, Aug. 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

Exhibition Stadium from the Shell Tower, Aug 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

The observation deck of the Shell Tower in 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

View of roller coaster from Shell tower. August 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

Tornado roller coaster.

toronto cne 1970s

Riders take the plunge on the Tornado in 1974.

toronto cne 1970s

The Tornado prepares to claim four more victims.

toronto cne 1970s

Ferris wheel with bingo and casino buildings, August 20, 1972.

toronto cne 1970s

Blue sky, bright clothes, and a view of the cable car.

toronto cne 1970s

Press Building, formerly the Administrative Building.

toronto cne 1970s

"Honey Dew Orange Drink!!" concession stand. Check out those pink flares.

toronto cne 1970s

Crowds in front of a deli, Sept. 4, 1978.

toronto cne 1970s

The display tank of the Underwater Club of Canada ("Quality Skin and Scuba Diving Instruction") on Aug. 25, 1974.

toronto cne 1970s

A new two-level GO car, a PCC streetcar, and a vintage TTC bus on September 4, 1978.

toronto cne 1970s

Warren Riddell and his son in front of the CNE fire hall, Aug. 31, 1979.

toronto cne 1970s

The steel-and-glass Shell Oil Tower in the 1960s. The observation deck, a CNE landmark, opened in 1955 with a giant analogue clock face. It was later upgraded to digital before being demolished in 1985.

toronto cne 1970s

Carillon Tower branded as the Carlsberg Carillon some time after 1974. It was presented to the CNE by Carling-O'Keefe Breweries that year.

toronto cne 1970s

Rides at the CNE from the Ontario Place Parking lot. July 7, 1973. Note the digital display atop the Shell Tower.

toronto cne 1970s

CNE rides from a parking lot. Half-finished CN Tower rising in the background. Aug. 25, 1974.

toronto cne 1970s

Rides in action as viewed from the CNE parking lot. Aug. 25, 1974.

Lead photo by

Toronto Archives


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