What’s Notable at The Ex

When the Ex comes back to town, it’s always bittersweet. Don’t get us wrong, we love the two-week extravaganza of events and attractions and some of the strangest deep-fried food you could imagine, but it always signifies that summer’s end is nigh. Sigh. But, instead of harping on the impending close of another balmy season, let’s focus on what really matters: the Canadian National Exhibition is back starting August 19th! This year promises to be yet another glorious stretch of entertaining childhood nostalgia, and here’s our list of what to check out…

While we recommend steering clear of the Kids’ Zone unless familial obligations dictate otherwise, the CNE Casino offers 86 gaming tables for you to prove that the house (or in this case, the Ex) always wins. The Human Cannonball will be back (why?), and the Strong Man Show will undoubtedly leave you pining for the gym. The FLOWRIDER Splash Show will see some of the world’s top FLOW boarders showing the tricks of the trade, and for 20 bucks you can test it out yourself. (Might we suggest having an alibi ready for when you lose your balance, such as an inner ear infection or strained ankle?) Check out the Marilyn in Canada exhibit, with pics depicting the icon’s link to our beaver-loving nation, or the Bra Project featuring some of the most artsy bras you’d never want to wear, or the incredibly detailed Sand Sculpture exhibit.

Of course, one of the best parts of the Ex is the Midway, with rides and games rigged by some of Canada’s top carnies. Check out the cityscape on the Ferris Wheel, plummet down the Mega Drop, or ride the new Skater before playing any of the 125 games for a chance at winning a giant stuffed animal.

There are some notable concerts and live shows to check out at this year’s CNE. Marianas Trench will be playing a concert with Jackie Valentine, Lights will perform with Michou, K-OS will hit the stage with Reema Major, and the EXFEST Battle of the Bands will showcase some of Ontario’s top up-and-coming groups.

The ever-popular Canadian International Air Show will once again show off the Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds, and the Food Network’s Celebrity Stage will be the best ticket if you want to check out some live demos from your favourite Food Network stars. Speaking of food, the Toronto Star Food Building will be a busy spot for famished CNE goers, featuring some some of the best (worst) deep-fried foods, like the buzzworthy donut burger and deep-fried Kool-Aid. We’re already having difficulties breathing.

So there you have it, the most notable crop of to-dos for this year’s Toronto Ex. If (when) you’re heading there, be sure to send us your twitpics (just tag @NotableCA in your tweets) and drop us notes on our Facebook fanpage. We’d love to see what you’re checking out at this year’s CNE. The Ex runs from August 19th to September 5th at Exhibition Place.