Destinations Magazine

Toronto // Cne Adventures

By Laurawh77 @travladventurer


Last week Chelsea, Lidia and I all headed out to the EX! I love fairgrounds, the cheesy games, cooky rides and insanely delicious and deep fried food! We started out on a lovely walk through the west end entrance. This is where the little kid rides are and I wish I was a little kid, I could actually ride these rides….but alas I am too tall/old.

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As soon as I spotted the Circus Tents with their vintage typography printed on the side and on the signs my heart was all a flutter and I was giddy to get running around the park.

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Maybe I’m the only one but I love the colours that are everywhere in the park, the lights, the signs…everything about it to me is a magical design wonderland. Feels like a photoshop swatch palette.

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Upon entering the park we were offered the chance to win some free doughnuts at the classic Tiny Toms Doughnut stand. This is a staple of the Ex and I never come away without scarfing down at least 3 dozens of their individually fried doughnuts from their mini doughnut factory. There is nothing like seeing Tom’s smiling face peeking out of that red feathered Robin Hood hat. I am convinced that I’ll have one of these booths at my wedding no matter what anyone says….I mean, come on. How can a bag of freshly made, steaming hot, doughnuts compare to a stuffy old cake….it can’t. The end.

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Tom Brazier, owner and operator of Tiny Tom’s Donuts, started this company in 1960 as an offshoot to his own father’s business called Margaret’s Doughnuts which opened at the EX i the 1940′s. It is history in a bag. The doughnuts used to cost 25 cents a bag and although they cost a whooping 5$ a dozen now, it is totally worth the delicious treat. I spun the wheel and won myself a free bag – I was the only lucky one – so I was happy to add a free bag to my other three dozen I had already planned on eating (no pictures of the doughnuts as I ate them too quickly…)

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The kiddy side of the park always has the sweetest looking rides. Even the benches lined along the pavement around the kids area where multicolored. It was a beautiful sight to see in the bright sunshine.

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Our first stop was at the farm pavillion and we jumped around looking at the cute little farm animals. The baby lamb was my favorite. What a cute little darling. There was also freckles the llama. He was a funny character and we high fived for being fellow freckled beings. The bee keepers and their bees are always one of my favorite stops. I really like bees and they had very pretty wax candles on display this year. And honey is amber nectar of the gods!

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Our next stop was at the Food Building! Now, the Ex is pretty much about eating for me since I don’t like rides. I love the look of rides and the kitcheness of the whole carnival but the food is really the thing I can dig my nails into while I’m there. Being a vegetarian this year was an interesting adventure in food but there was still tons which I could eat and I didn’t ever feel restricted. Plus, desserts and sweets are really the best thing there.

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Yummy cheesecakes made me wish I could be a baker. I would love to wake up every morning to the smell of fresh bread in over and sweet pastries being iced on the counter.

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Peameal bacon sandwiches and poutine are a staple of Canadian exhibition fare.

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Fresh waffle ice cream sandwich are simply amazing. And simply being the key word. Just two waffles and ice cream but it is truly the perfect thing for the summer.

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I really loved this retro inspired sign.

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Candied apples are one of my favorite carnival items. Covered in sprinkles and nuts bring it to a whole new level of delicious.

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The deep fried items are getting weirder and weirder. I didn’t try any since they just seemed really gimmicky. If I had more money I would have tried them all but wanting to save cash I really just ate my doughnuts but looking at all the crazy fried foods was almost like being at the zoo – watching strange and foreign things from behind the glass.

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Deep fried kool-aid and butter? Did any of you eat it?

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Classic foods.

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Chelsea and I share a love of Snow Cones. They are the perfect antidote to the humidity and heat beating down on us as we walked the grounds.

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This year they had these amazingly huge portions compared to last year! And they came in cute, florescent flower cups. Yes they are still over priced for ice, food colouring and flavoring but it’s all in good fun.

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This Year // Last Year

Here is a fantastic double shot of Chelsea and Lidia (whom I adore)! They are such cuties! The one ride we decided to go on was the Ferris Wheel. It’s the one ride I can stand and Chelsea and Lidia were fresh back from Wonderland so their ride lust had been sedeated and they were happy to ride the Ferris Wheel with me.

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From up above we could see the entire Carnival laid out beneath us. Smiling face, screaming children, hundreds of games and delicious vendors were all topped with bright neon coloured roofs and sparkling lights.

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When we got off, we perused the other insanely dangerous looking ride and Chelsea found her buxom German beer wench which she had had her picture taken beside years ago. We had to take another one….oh how we’ve grown.

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I really do find these old rides and their Victorian design so entrancing.

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As the night wore on and the lights came out we adventured around the arcade and watched people attack those impossibly easy and yet difficult carnival games. I could never bring myself to play but I’ve always wanted someone to win me one of those ridiculously big bears. One day….

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It was a fantastic evening. We left the park, the light flashing behind us and decided, although the weather was darkening and lighting was on the forecast, to walk back from Exhibition place over to m condo. We got home in the nick of time and spent the rest of the evening watching the lighting come down from the skies. We sat on my balcony for about an hour in the rain and the wind happily admiring the light show the earth was putting on for us. As I sat there, laughing with my friend, watching the lighting reflect the flashes of coloured light we saw earlier in the park, I smiled at my girls and was so happy to have such lovely friends that I can spend the end of this beautiful summer with.

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