cne 2019

The top 10 things to do at the 2019 CNE in Toronto

The 2019 CNE is ready to get underway in Toronto from August 16 to September 2 and while some see it as a sign that summer is coming to an end, there's still lots of time to enjoy the season at this annual downtown carnival.

Here are my picks for the top things to do at the CNE this year.

Check out all the new stuff coming this year

A giant Godzilla, raccoon sculptures, a Woodstock festival, super cheap food, a comedy series, concerts and an American Ninja Warrior-style race are just some of the new stuff coming to The Ex this year. 

Get in on a festival

While there's the main CNE activities to take part in, there's also lots of festivals-within-a-carnival, including a big Oktoberfest celebration, food truck festival, craft beer festival, and the new Woodstock tribute weekend and Fan Expo cosplay day.

Take a spin on the rides

Whether it's the old tilt-a-whirl, the ferris wheel or the big, colourful slide, there's tons of classic rides that are the backbone of the carnival set up side-by-side with kids and adult rides and games spread throughout the grounds. 

Cash your cheque at the casino

The CNE is home to a casino and the largest Hold'Em poker room and a huge amount of other traditional games. There's also a licensed outdoor patio, nightly entertainment and the option to order from some of the midway treats.

Shop til you drop

Markets galore make up a huge part of the CNE with plenty of opportunities to pick up unique wears. Several pavilions are home to arts markets, home and garden stuff and international goods. There's also warehouse sales and an outdoor market to check out.

Eat your heart out

The $100 gold burger was the big ticket item last year, but there's always plenty of cheap eats, like the famous $1 spaghetti and classic treats like the Tiny Tom donuts and that are at the heart of the carnival.

cne 2019 toronto

Those wee little donuts make up the heart and soul of the CNE. Hector Vasquez.

Check out an exhibition 

Did you know the CNE sign is considered an exhibit? There's plenty of exhibitions happening throughout the CNE's run, including a new one from National Geographic, butter sculptures, a garden show, Nook of Gnomes and lots more.

Catch a show

Hundreds of talent, stunt and cultural shows and festivals happen during the CNE that see everything from music and dance to flame throwing going on. There's also plenty of concerts by big-name musicians as well, all free with admission.

Learn about the legends of Silk Road

Illuminated silk sculptures made by over 50 artists tell the story of mythical, magical and legendary stories of the Silk Road through oversized characters. This year, a new AR experience will bring the lanterns to life.

Celebrate 70 years of the Air Show

Both exciting and contentious, the Air Show's takeover of the Toronto skies returns during the Labour Day weekend with high-flying stunts and booming flyovers zipping across the skyline.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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