The huge midway with its noise, food, carnival games of skill, and of course the rides, has always been a big attraction for both the CNE in Toronto Iand P:NE in Vancouver) (CNE photo (via CBC Toronto)

The CNE and PNE: Ending summer on a big note of fun

It’s been an annual tradition since at least 1879. The Canadian National Exhibition opens today at the large 78 hectare CNE grounds in Toronto.

The impressive Princes” Gates (sometimes mistakenly called “princess” gates). Were built and opened in 1927 as the main entrance to the grounds. (Jesse Munroe-wikicommons)

Often called simply the “Ex” it was originally staged as a showcase of agricultural and technological innovation. While agriculture remains It has evolved in recent years to reflect the more diverse Canadian society. This includes more diverse representation in the Food Building, and in entertainment, and in various booths offering goods for sale.

The midway with its rides has always been a huge attraction.

View from the CNE Ferris wheel looking east. in 2008. (JenniferHeartsU-wikicommons)

The 18-day event which attracts between one and two million visitors is often seen as the last big summer event before school starts and summer vacations end for those especially around the southern Ontario area.

The Canadian International Air show is a big attraction held on the final day.

There is a big of cloud this year however as the event begins amid labour strife. Lighting, sound, and construction workers have been walking picket lines at the site after being locked out by the CNE over a labour dispute.

Technicians at the CNE picket the site in frustration after contract talks broke down with the City of Toronto and they were locked out. Outside workers were brought in to set up the various stages etc. (Radio-Canada)

While the CNE is seen as the last major summer event in Ontario and generally speaking, eastern Canada, a very similar traditional event is held in Vancouver British Columbia. The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) is held at the same time. It’s long tradition dates back to 1910 and similar beginnings as an industrial fair, but has evolved and expanced in very much similar fashion to the somewhat older CNE.

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