Sunday, September 11, 2011

CNE Toronto: Air Show, Midway, Ontario Place on Labour Day

Here are some pictures taken on Labour Day, the final day of the annual CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto. Labour Day weekend means the annual air show is on, too, so despite the chilly weather and threatening rain, the EX was packed!

Taking the GO Train to Exhibition Place station is likely the easiest way to get there and back. Bonus: You can buy CNE entrance tickets when you buy your train ticket. This lets you avoid the lines when you get to the Ex.

Balancing Act ~ Piling Stones at CNE
Pick up a map at one of the CNE information booths when you enter the grounds. Stop at the International Building, where, among the displays of prize dahlias, summer veggies and more, we came across a fellow doing a series of balanced stones sculptures.

Sand Castles at the Ex ~ Canadian National Exhibition ~ Toronto Ontario
Near the balanced stones were the results of a large sand castle competition. A touch-screen booth asked visitors to vote for their favorite sculptor: Canada, Australia, Italy, America and more. [NB- Restrooms in this building.]

Midway Rides at the CNE
 From sand and stone and a lot of vendor market booths in the International Building, it's back to the Midway with the summer smell of someone frying onions. Lots of games of chance, midway rides, and the usual roasted cobs of corn, cotton candy, ice cream treats, sodas, and more.

Swing High, Sweet Chariot ~ Midway, CNE Rides
 Though not personally a fan of high, fast, swirling rides, I like to stop and watch others tempting fate. What faith one must have to trust life and limb to these ropes, chains and metal bars!

Crossing Lakeshore Road, Toronto
The CNE map showed a nearby pedestrian bridge over Lakeshore Road that leads from the Exhibition grounds (paid entry) to Ontario Place. Stop in the middle and admire the view of the C N Tower.

Ontario Place Toronto ~ Natural Elements Meet Man-Made Theme Park
In honor of its 40th anniversary, Ontario Place was not charging its usual admission fee. Ontario Place is a blend of theme park, water park, natural areas, event venues, theater and walking trails. Well worth a visit!

Small Commuter Train ~ Ontario Place Toronto
 The white globe in the background is the Ontario Place theater -- IMAX. A series of trails, walks and stairs lead throughout the grounds. This small train is great for getting tired legs back to the parking lot or trains at the end of the day.

US Military Show Jets - CNE Air Show Toronto
 The air show runs from just after noon until about 4 p.m. Get a program to see all the planes taking part. Announcers act as emcees, but it can be hard to hear details. This squadron was from the US. The air show finale is reserved for Canada's Snow Birds.

Air Show Toronto Labour Day Weekend CNE - Ontario Place
This Lake Ontario beach that marks the southern edge of Ontario Place is one of the best, free places to take in the air show! This day, the stiff breeze was from the north; this area was totally sheltered by large trees.

Sit on the sand, sit on the large rocks, or bring a lawn chair. Warning: Gazing upward for 4 hours may lead to a stiff neck :-) and it's a little loud when military jets fly past.

Great 180 degree views cannot be beat.  Nearby, there is grandstand seating for a small fee.

Another Must Visit at the CNE is the Food Building, located near the GO Train station. Hundreds of long tables and chairs fill the middle of this huge building; Around the perimeter, vendors sell all manner of foods: Italian, Ukrainian, Polish, Middle Eastern, Mexican -- you name it, it's likely here. Not fine dining: This is domain of paper plates and plastic cutlery.

Here's a short video of the fellow balancing the rocks: