The Craziest Foods, Rides and Other Finds at the 2013 CNE

by Karen Kwan

“Let’s go to the Ex!” Yes, it’s that time of year again, when summer starts to wane and thousands of those young and young at heart close the season at the Canadian National Exhibition. The 135th season opens tomorrow, Friday, August 16th.

There are the classic attractions that so many locals hold close to their hearts—from the Air Show and SuperDogs to the thrill rides and concerts (the Beach Boys will be hitting the stage this year!), but there are plenty of new adventures to indulge in.


One of the big attractions, of course, is the food. Sure, you’ll be able to get your fix of Tiny Toms Donuts, but every year it’s about bigger, better and fattier. And this year’s fatty food creation that everyone is chattering about is the Cronut Burger. This calorie-heavy item (the result of the partnering up of Epic Burgers and Waffles and Le Dolci) includes a “bun, ” which is actually a hybrid croissant-donut, and a filling of beef burger and cheese, all topped with maple-bacon jam. We taste-tested it and it’s not as stomach-churning as you might expect. On the side, get a helping of sweet potato fries from Spread—they’re drizzled with Nutella.

For bacon aficionados, the Canuck Burger from Bacon Nation is an all-bacon burger topped with two strips of bacon and a slice of peameal bacon. Not enough bacon for you? Wash it down with a peanut butter and bacon milkshake.

Credit: Canadian National Exhibition

Credit: Canadian National Exhibition


It’s probably best to hit the rides before the foods, and there are two brand new rides not to be missed. The Mach 3 is a 37-metre arm that whips you 360 degrees at up to 13 revolutions a minute and at a G-force of 3.5.

If spinning in all directions is not your thing, consider the PC Financial Zipline . You start by climbing up 10 storeys of scaffolding and then zip down more than 1, 100 feet. Plus, you get a recording of your descent!

Credit: Canadian National Exhibition

Credit: Canadian National Exhibition

Other Finds

If you prefer taking in the thrills rather than taking part, one act we’re super stoked about is the Flying Wallendas, who will be performing daily at the Ex. (Remember last year’s death-defying tightrope cross over Niagara Falls? That was Nik Wallenda.) The famous circus act will be showing off their trapeze skills—all without safety devices.

The Ex is open August 16 to September 2, 2013.