Thursday, 9 September 2010

Let's Go To The Ex!

Aahh, The Ex. Nothing signifies the end of summer in Toronto like the Canadian National Exhibition. For the last two weeks of August, leading up to Labour Day every year, The Ex has been a Toronto tradition since 1879.

And has been my tradition since I was at least 6 years old (I don't believe I've missed a year since then!) My summer just does not feel complete without a visit, or a waffle ice cream.

Oh yes. The focus has definitely switched in recent years. 6-year-old me would have said that the best part of The Ex was the rides (heck, even 16-year-old or maybe 26-year old me would've said that too!) But ask me now, and the food is definitely top priority.

I went to The Ex with my aunt, Ester. It was about 6:30pm when we got there. First stop: the Food building. I already had brunch earlier in the day, but she hadn't eaten. So, we ended up picking up some perogies, and we sat out on the grass enjoying our dinner. Afterwards, she enjoyed some BBQ corn on the cob, while I looked at it longingly (I can't eat corn on the cob anymore, because of a wire I have behind my teeth as a result of my orthodontics... oh, and I had a root canal two days earlier and my teeth were still sore).

We walked around the various buildings and exhibits, in an attempt to have the food settle before hitting up the spinny rides. I really enjoyed the brand new Rock 'n Roll theme. They had lots of old, original posters, costumes and artifacts, dating from the 50s through the 90s. You weren't allowed to take photos in the exhibit, but I may have snuck one from outside the exhibit walls. Wink wink.

We also made a trip through the At Home building, where we came across a fantastic broom. It's called the sweepa and it looks to be the greatest thing since the bristled broom. We watched as the demonstrator easily transitioned between hardwood, linoleum, tile and carpet, picking up cereal, chip crumbs, pet hair and more, without any extra dust or particles being left behind.  Super impressive. So, the demonstration was awesome... and the brooms were 2 for 1.  It was pretty much a no-brainer.  Afterwards, when we were walking around with them, we had at least 10-15 people stop us to ask where we got them!

At that point, we were going to get out to the midway, but decided that since our brooms were so desireable, we didn't want to leave them on the ground where people could potentially swipe them... so we took a walk back to the car. On the way, we stopped by the Food building again, to parttake in some BeaverTails. BeaverTails are one of those Canadian traditions that I've always wanted to try, but could never find in Toronto (they are particularly popular among the crowds skating down the Rideau Canal in Ottawa). They had a booth in the Food building, and I was determined to buy one. Ester and I decided to split a chocolate hazelnut 'Tail, and it was everything I dreamed it would be, and more! Mmmm...

After we got back from the car, we got our tickets for the rides. We made the mistake of going on the Tilt-A-Whirl first, because it had the shortest line. I have since decided that I am much too old for the Tilt-A-Whirl, and I shouldn't even think about it next year. Oh man. That ride lasts forever, and you just keep spinning and spinning. Thankfully, I didn't lose my BeaverTail (I'm sure it wouldn't have tasted as good on the way up! Sorry for the mental image!), but my equilibrium was off for the rest of the day. We rounded out the rides with the Ferris Wheel, my favourite ride, the Polar Express, and the Swing Tower.

Oh, and while waiting around outside the Polar Express, I ran into my friend, George Stroumboulopoulos... which is becoming a CNE tradition in itself. I'm not sure how I always manage to run into him there! Great seeing him though. His revamped season 7 gets a new name, a new website, and premieres on September 20th. Be sure to check it out on CBC.

After the rides, there was only one more thing to do... waffle ice cream! As I said before, summer is just not complete without one. Picture if you will... a brick of vanilla ice cream, sandwiched between two piping hot waffles. So. Good. Because we were both still off balance from the rides, and somewhat full from the BeaverTail, Ester and I decided to split our waffle... and it was the perfect end to a perfect (short) trip to The Ex!

Photos, you say? Right this way.
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