a day at the CNE

Elisabeth and I on the train. We’re dorks. 

A few days ago, my ever generous grandparents took Elisabeth and I to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). In case you didn’t know, the CNE is one of the biggest annual events in Canada, attracting visitors from all over Canada, and from around the world as well. There are live concerts, plenty of rides and typical carnival attractions, famous fudge, hundreds of booths selling everything from over-priced DVDs to hand-crafted scrolls from Egypt, and sooooo much more. It runs for about two weeks, and I’ve attended for several years in a row. On those previous occasions, I’ve always gone with my whole family, but this year – as an early birthday present – I went with just Elisabeth and my grandparents. And it was the best CNE yet! So good, in fact, that I’m writing this blog post about it.

Even on the worst years (usually the ones where it was a really hot day or I wasn’t feeling the greatest), there’s always been at least one highlight that brightens up the entire day – or at least makes me look back on that particular CNE with fonder memories. For instance, there was that year when four guys with trumpets and accordions were standing outside The Food Building, playing ‘Singing In The Rain’ and the theme to Around The World In 80 Days (the 1950s adaption). I don’t think they were being paid; they just played for the fun of it. Anyway, stuff like that always makes me happy, and this year was chock-full of awesome experiences.

To begin with, there was that delicious, tingly, excited feeling I experienced when walking onto the CNE grounds. The energy in the air was tangible, and there were all those smells of popcorn and chocolate and hot dogs. It was wonderful. For the next hour or so, we wandered around, looked at different booths (there’s an International Pavilion, and Grandpa stayed at Israel’s section for quite a while) until we came to the military exhibit. Which, because 2015 is another WWI hundred year anniverary, also had a special section called ‘First World War Comes To Life’.  It was great (even if it did make me think of Walter, Jem, Shirley, and Kenneth a bit too much). There were a bunch of guys walking around dressed in WWI uniforms (there was an officer, some infantrymen, and a couple of medics – and one woman in a nurse’s uniform), and they explained different parts of the exhibit if you asked. I didn’t, though. Sometimes I hate my introvertedness, because I know it would’ve been really interesting + cool to talk to those guys, but just the thought of it made me highly nervous. And when the odd person did happen to talk to me, it was always suuuuuper awkward (for me, at least).

One of the vehicles at the WWI exhibit.

Still, I had fun. I’d go back to the CNE just to re-visit that exhibit. They also had modern military vehicles to climb into and soldiers/sailors/airplane pilots to talk to – there were a couple of *cough* very cute guys helping with different aspects of the presentation(s). Elisabeth and I were kinda fangirling over them. (What is it about uniforms that make guys look one hundred percent more attractive?) After I thoroughly explored the exhibit, I was about to leave, when Elisabeth pulled me over to a small booth that sold WWII-themed shirts (mostly centered around D-Day) and pointed out that the owner was playing GLENN MILLER MUSIC.  And, more specifically, my absolute GM song – ‘American Patrol’.  What are the chances of that???  The longer I lingered at the booth, looking at all the awesome t-shirts (I’m planning to buy at least one every year), the music just kept getting better, and when I stumbled across a medic shirt and I just knew I had to buy it.  Not just because of the music, but because I think medics don’t get enough recognition (but that’s another post). (My grandpa ended up paying for it, though, as an early birthday gift.)

Then, once we left the military exhibit, we had about an hour to kill before The Big Event Of The Day, so we went to the IAM’s Superdogs Show, which is another CNE tradition with my family, but one that I don’t like all that much, because it’s always the same.  Admittedly, this year’s theme was ‘Hollywoof’, and they haven’t had themes (as far as I can remember) for previous years, so there was a few different acts, but it still didn’t really grab me.

And the Event was…AN ICE DANCING SHOW WITH SCOTT MOIR AND TESSA VIRTUE!  Scott and Tessa are Canadian ice dancers who won the gold medal for ice dancing at the Olympics in 2010.  They’ve been together (as a team, not romantically) for years and years and they’re completely and thoroughly awesome.  The lines were huge (tickets were free with admission) and my grandparents, Elisabeth, and I were despairing of getting a good seat or getting inside in time, but Grandpa, who’s a real extrovert and who makes instant friends wherever he goes, started talking to a woman who was a CNE veteran, and she sort of took us under her wing.  We were among the first admitted (there were several doorways to the arena, but for some reason, everyone but her and us was lined up at only one of the doors) and she led us straight to the very best seats in the entire room.  Front and center.  It was a thing of beauty.

Waiting for the show to start.

As for the show itself. *shivers with the sheer gloriousness of it*  OH. MY. GOODNESS.  It was sensational.  I still can’t form coherent thoughts.  The show lasted for about half an hour and there were several acts, each one themed around a different country, and the whole thing started with a little skit (complete with dancing, of course) set to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly With Me’ that portrayed a couple (Scott and Tessa) setting off on a ’round-the-world trip.  Frank Sinatra is my favorite singer, so that was thrilling.  And each act was gorgeous and wonderful and basically every other adjective in the thesaurus.  I want to go see it again, though I don’t think that will happen.  Unfortunately. 😦

We left the CNE and went out for pizza at a nice, quiet restaurant after that.  I stuffed myself with Hawaiian, took the rest back to the hotel, and then later that night (after we all came back from prayer meeting), Elisabeth and I stayed up reeeeally late and ate pizza and chocolate-covered almonds and drank iced tea and orange pop and watched State Fair.  I love that movie so much, and considering where we’d spent the day, ’twas very appropriate (we debated between watching that or GWTW, but it was pretty late, so we went for the shorter film).  Oh, and after that, Elisabeth started flipping through the TV channels and stumbled across a French-dubbed version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that was also narrated in French for the blind.  Weird, huh?  But we watched it right to the end, anyway. (There was about half an hour left when we discovered it.)  All in all, an interesting end to a great day.

Have you ever gone to a fair or an exhibition like the CNE?  Have you ever gone to the CNE itself?  If you have, let me know!

Eva

P.S. Today’s my birthday! 🙂

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8 thoughts on “a day at the CNE

  1. Happy Birthday, Eva!!!

    I’ve never been to the CNE *heaves a sigh*, but it sounds suuuupppper awesome and I MUST go someday.

    BTW, I think you write really well. Whenever I go to something like that, I always have trouble writing about it in a way that captures what I felt, but you made me see this. Thanks!!! 🙂

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    • Thanks! 🙂 I’m glad you think I capture the feelings of event/fair well – it’s always a struggle to write and publish a post like this because I’m never sure whether my thoughts are coming across the way they need to. So hearing that I succeeded is great. 🙂

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  2. Happy birthday!!! I hope you’ve had a fantastic day!
    That is such a LOVELY photo of you and your sister–you both look so happy 🙂
    I know exactly what you mean about the introvertedness–it can be really, really hard to bring yourself to ask questions of strangers, even when you WANT to. I guess that’s getting easier as I get older, but it’s still tough.
    When I was a kid, I loved going to the state-fair-kind-of-thing in Connecticut (where we lived), called (if memory serves me correctly) “the Big E.” It was AWESOME, and I really miss it. One of my happiest childhood memories ever is of being at the Big E and my parents buying my brother and me these enormous ice-cream cones and us sitting up on a low wall-type thingy and eating them. I was five or six then, I think. Isn’t it funny, the things that stick out in your memory? 🙂

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    • I had a good birthday, though it wasn’t one of the best since my entire family was away on vacation, so we really couldn’t celebrate it properly. 😛 But my dad did take me to a used bookstore and I purchased several good books (planning a blog post about them, actually), so it was still a good day. Books always make everything better.

      Yep, I know what you mean. I have a kazillion little memories from childhood that are random and unimportant to probably anyone but me.

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      • Yes, books always do make everything better 🙂 I love used-book stores. I love new-book stores, too, come to think of it, LOL. I love all bookstores, basically.

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  3. Fairs are great fun, and I’ve been to quite a few. However, the CNE sounds more like the “exhibitions” of old, like the one in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Which is one of my daughters’ favorite movies, and they were just asking me the other day if there are still exhibitions like that — now I can say there are! In Canada, anyway. Very cool.

    Also, love your medic shirt 😀

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    • Yes, it’s more of an exhibition than a fair – they have livestock shows and vegetable competitions, things like that. I need to see MMISL! My mom loves that movie. 🙂 If you come up to Canada again, and if it’s around the time that the Ex is on, I’d love to take you. It’s tons of fun.

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      • MMISL is really sweet and fun — I think you will get a kick out of it. I love Margaret O’Brien’s character, Tootie, and we’ve nicknamed our 3-year-old Tootie because she reminds us of that character a lot.

        That would be really fun to meet up at the exhibition! Maybe when my kids are older, in a few years 😀

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