Thrills & Delights: 8 Must-Experience Activities at the Canadian National Exhibition

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The Annual Canadian National Exhibition, held at the Exhibition Place, constitutes 192 acres of land, situated on the west side of downtown Toronto along the shores of Lake Ontario, generally in summer.

It has a huge exhibition area for different shopping exhibits, live music, entertainment, midway rides for children, and tons of unique food.

It is an 18-day summer event from the third Friday of August to The Labour Day weekend in September, where visitors are given entry through tickets.

It is Canada’s biggest annual fair, which has something for everyone. Competitions, concerts, and live music are major attractions at the Canadian National Exhibition.

The Canadian National Exhibition manages to attract tourists from around the world throughout the year, but especially for three weeks for the games and their competitions and the majestic food building, which directly impacts the economies of Ontario and Canada.

The Better Living Center is a building that handles almost, from event winners to paramedics.

Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Canada
Photo by Alphy John on Unsplash

1. History

Back in 1879, the members of the Toronto City Council were delighted as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition was organized due to their efforts to start a permanent fair in Toronto. It began as a countryside fair to promote agriculture and industry.

Subsequently, it was renamed the Canadian National Exhibition, and rides were set up to bring in more patrons from and around the nation.

During World War 2, the grounds were handed over to the Canadian military, and there was already an Air Force base established there by the Canadian military during World War 1 in the past.

After that, the fair returned with an enhanced zeal and a modern aesthetic, bringing in the latest industrial products, technological advancements, and agricultural goods. However, it became much more than that.

1.1 The Canadian National Exhibition Today

In present times, the Canadian National Exhibition, along with its technical and agricultural side, has become a national community affair. It has evolved into a platform for artists to showcase their talents, music, sports, or even arts and crafts.

It has also successfully set up many exhibitions and competitions to increase the spirit of the exhibition place, along with various live music concerts and a Labour Day parade.

The History of the CNE

2. Top Attractions at The Canadian National Exhibition

2.1. Gaming Garage

One of the main attractions of the Canadian National Exhibition, the Gaming garage, would be everything you could dream of as a person who plays games professionally or just for entertainment.

E-sports competitions are organized for professional participants in games like Fortnite. Canada also witnessed its first robotics competition at Cne.

2.2. Drone Show

The drone show is one of its kind, where cutting-edge theoretical drone technology is used to create a fantastic experience through an immersive cinematic experience for the people of Toronto.

2.3. Animal Shows

The organizers know the importance of our furry friends, thus organizing heartful events to increase the empathy of the audience towards animals through entertainment like:

  1. Pawvengers‘ or The Dog Show, where dogs displayed the best of their abilities to the whole of Canada
  2. The Cat Show, where more than 150 cats across Canada competed.
  3. The Working Farm, where approximately 140 farmyard species were displayed.
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) 2023 Tour & Review with The Legend

2.4. Arts and Sculptures at CNE

As one of Canada’s top agricultural fairs, CNE emphasizes nature, and the garden show is an example of that.

The CNE also hosted the National Geography Wildlife Photography Exhibition, displaying the most captivating wildlife pictures for visitors.

‘The giant plastic tap’ raised awareness about plastic pollution, whereas the sand sculpture and butter sculptures became the talk of Toronto.

2.5. The Air Show and Parades

The three-day air show features various aerial acrobatics demonstrations and formations through the best Canadian Air Force fighter jets.

This event is generally held on Labour Day weekend and can be seen from some Canadian National Exhibition Place areas. People of service to the Canadian Air Force are its participants.

CNE, following its tradition, hosted its famous Labour Day Parade in September to celebrate the strength and solidarity of soldiers.

They also hosted their 100th Warriors Day Parade, the longest-running Veterans’ parade in the free world.

2.6. The Midway Rides and Carnival

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - AUG 20, 2017 Canadian National Exhibition
From DepositPhotos

The grounds at CNE are jam-packed with all kinds of exciting rides like roller coasters, Ferris wheels, dragons, and all the other rides you could think of, keeping in mind the various interests of its patrons.

Visitors around Toronto and some from around Canada come here for the midway rides and fun.

2.7. Shopping and Casino

Visitors warm the exhibition place for exhibits and shopping. The visitors love to shop for various things like Arts, crafts, hobbies, home, and gardening through the outdoor marketplace and warehouse outlets.

The casino is also regarded as an essential event, as the people of Toronto seem to love it a lot.

2.8. Everyone’s Favourite Food at CNE

People throughout the CNE, from August till September, come here according to different interests, but most are the food.

The food building encompasses all the varieties, from Indian shawarma to Baskin-Robins, bacon, steak, juices, burgers, and so much more.

Meanwhile, the food trucks inside the historic Princes’ gates serve fantastic street food, some of which you can’t imagine.

CNE is discussed in the whole city and world for its fusion foods. A two ft. long taco, deep-fried coffee, ketchup and mustard ice creams, mac and cheese lemonade, and flaming hot Cheetos burrito were highlights of food at CNE.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - AUG 20, 2017 Canadian National Exhibition
From DepositPhotos


As one of the largest fairs in North America, CNE has many things that anyone, especially the locals, looks forward to like the grand air show showcasing Canada’s cultural heritage.

Along with all these, CNE also has numerous other things like the auditions of The Rising Star and live music concerts by famous artists, which can be best experienced by witnessing.

At last, it would be safe to say that the Canadian National Exhibition is justifiably entitled to Canada’s wonderland. So don’t miss out on visiting CNE if you get an opportunity.

Last Updated on by Ananya Sreen

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