Toronto has plenty to offer family travelers year-round, but, in August, the city’s biggest event offers something for everyone. During this end-of-summer period, the city is at its finest with beautiful weather and festivals galore, including the biggest one of the year, CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).
Affectionately known as “the Ex” by locals, this annual event is held at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, a fairground named specifically for it. While CNE was originally designed to showcase Canada’s advancements in agriculture and science, in the last 150 years, it has grown to a world-class event that is now the place to be in Toronto.
Located in the heart of the city right on the shores of Lake Ontario, Exhibition Place is a mixed-use district hosting events throughout the year. The 197-acre site is the perfect place for the country’s biggest fair, with exhibition halls, banquet halls, theaters and sports facilities. It is even home to historic attractions, such as Toronto’s oldest surviving structure, an 18th-century log cabin.
Whether the family is into carnival rides and midway games, sampling foods from around the world, or discovering the latest in technology, the CNE offers something for every interest. Shopping for the latest trends and the best deals is always a fair favorite, and this event is set to offer plenty of opportunity for some retail therapy.
While there will be plenty of outdoor fun and traditional fair activities throughout the event, there are also some exciting events that will have techies in the family heading indoors for the Gaming Garage Festival, a tech-heavy festival within a festival. Featured events include e-sports competitions, a robotics competition and an AI and Innovation showcase, as well as a retro arcade hall.
There will be live music and talent events each day of CNE that will not only give you a glimpse into the diverse culture of Toronto but will also introduce the family to cultures from around the world. Shows like “Time Flies,” the fair’s new ice skating and acrobatics show, will feature extreme skaters and circus artists displaying world-class talents on the rink. Those lucky enough to visit on Labor Day weekend will be in for a special treat — an air show in the skies over the city skyline.
The Ex runs Aug. 18–Sept. 4, and tickets can be purchased at the event, or you can plan ahead by purchasing your tickets in advance online for $20 CAN for a day pass with access to all the shows and exhibits or $43.66 CAN for a day pass that also includes all-day access to all the midway rides.
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