Get ready for the return of Toronto’s most talked about end-of-summer carnival. Ontop of yearly customs (such as junk foods, amusement park rides, and Canadian International Air Shows), 2017 debuts new events and exhibits; The CNE Gaming Garage, MZ Lazer Illusion Experience, and East Coast Kitchen Party to name a few.
One of these new features is located at the Heritage Court of the Enercare Centre. The Unity Pole is commissioned by Ojibway artist, Kris Nahrgang, who took 6 months to carve and paint the 25 foot cedar tree. It majestically stands with symbolism that each represent his personal artistic and spiritual quest for unity. The root of the tree is a turtle, which alludes to Mother Nature and the indigenous creation story. 9 more animals fulfill the rest of the totem pole, with a soaring eagle at the top, indicating an existing connection between the spiritual and mutable worlds.
My favourite show of CNE last year was the ice-skating show, and the revamped version this year, “Oh Canada! Aerial Acrobatics & Ice Skating Show”, commemorates Canada 150 with iconic red and white costumery. The spectacle is headlined by Olympic Champion Elvis Stojko, who is sure to rock the crowd with his impressive moves and speedy spins. Also, the Ricoh Coliseum is a great place to cool off after a whole day out in the heat!
A highlight of this year’s food festivities will be their new “East Coast Kitchen Party”, where one can watch a world-class oyster shucker or Caesar-building competition, get a taste of the Maritimes, and participate in Newfoundland’s tradition of ‘kiss a cod and get screeched in’. Other recognizable events include French’s Food Truck Frenzy, the Craft Beer Fest, and CNE’s 9th annual Ribfest.
The food is hands-down the talk of the town because the most outrageous culinary combinations come to life. Many of the items from the Food Building are picture-worthy and are sure to satisfy an empty stomach with underlying themes of indulgent fried goods, stacks of sweetness, or daring flavours. These foods range from Strawberry Shortsteak (Philthy Philly’s) to the All-Canadian Red Hot Burger (Bacon Nation) to Sugar Mountain (Cake Shack) – a pile of sweets and dessert.
The Deep Fried Chicken Feet (Coco Concessions), Deep Fried Frog Legs (Farm to Fryer) and the Cricket Cone (Bug Bistro) are not for the faint of heart. A few of the charcoal trends made an appearance; Black Velvet Funnel Cake as well as the Charcoal Lemonade (both from Bacon Nation).
When it comes to carnival food, food inventions are sure to bring a wow-factor to the crowds at CNE. However, even the simpler food creations such as the Deep Fried Cheese Curds (The Great Canadian), and the Dragon’s Breath Crepe (Eative), deserve an equal amount of recognition for innovation in terms of deliciousness.
Either way, be prepared for a long day filled with events to “see-and-eat” at CNE. It runs from August 18th to September 4th!