CNE at Home: How to Experience The Ex in Your Backyard

Okay 2020, we get it. You’ve really thrown us for a loop this year in about a million different ways, but there’s one summer tradition that I’m going to have to make work. I’m talking about the CNE, a yearly Toronto extravaganza full of crazy food, rides, wild shows, lots of concerts and, my favourite part, Superdogs. Read on to learn how you can experience the CNE at home this year so you can still have some of this end of summer fun.

Mick + I enjoying a cold Muskoka Brewery beer at the CNE Beach Bar last year!

It may not be the same thing, but I’m willing to make it work. Why? Well, let me give you a little insight into why the CNE is such a big part of my summer. 6 years ago, a boy named Mickey and a gal named Dee went on their very first date at The Ex; since then they’ve gone every year as part of an annual tradition in memory of their first date.

Yep, we’re still keeping that tradition going strong! Even if we can experience the CNE in person this year, we’re going to be recreating some of our favourite parts at home so we can still kinda enjoy it. And trust me, next year we’ll be back and ready for more!

Get CNE at home ready

Ready to experience the CNE at home? Here are a few tips:

Eat

Can you really say you’ve gone to the CNE if you haven’t gorged on something crazy, something deliciously cheap or something deep-fried? Didn’t think so. This part can be as easy as tossing some good ol’ pre-made carnival food in the oven (think corn dogs, mozzarella sticks, popcorn) or getting a little more creative and trying your hand at CNE staples or wild eats. We do love a good pizza cone, loaded poutine and Philly cheese steak sammy, so we’ll be experimenting a little. The CNE has gone online this year and they’re even sharing some recipes for favourites in the CNE Virtual Kitchen, which you can find here! Challenge someone to a CNE cookoff and see what kind of crazy eats you can create – the wilder the better!

Don’t forget the classic CNE ice cream sandwich. Make ’em fresh or throw some pre-made waffles in the toaster, then sandwich vanilla ice cream in between (pro tip: cut open a carton of ice cream and slice off a piece to fit perfectly in your waffle). You can also try your hand at creating tiny donuts a la Tiny Tom, one thing I’ll very much be missing this year!

muskoka brewery beer at the cne beach bar

Drink

One of our favourite stops every time we visit the CNE is the beach bar, so we’ll be setting up a mini version of this at home. Grab some Muskoka or beach chairs, set up some umbrellas and throw on some beach-worthy jams for this one. Make sure you pick up a few beers from Muskoka Brewery to get the full CNE beach bar vibe going!

Be Entertained

There’s nothing like taking in a show at the CNE, whether you’re catching an incredible musical act (seriously, they always have amazing small and big acts throughout) at one of the exhibition’s various stages, seeing an amazing performance in the International Pavilion or enjoying a fun show put on by one of the buskers. This year, the CNE is going to be live streaming shows for you to enjoy at home, including buskers and live music!

Let the Dogs Out

I’m just going to say it: SUPERDOGS IS THE BEST PART OF THE CNE. Like, we freaking love the Superdogs show. It’s incredible. It has everything you need. Dogs. Dogs. More dogs. Dogs doing tricks. Dogs running through obstacle courses. Dogs being funny. The best theme song ever. It’s incredible. Even better, because these are family dogs, trained by their pup parents who love them.

Anyways, if you’re just as upset about not being able to see the Superdogs this year as I am, you’re in luck! Tomorrow morning (August 22 at 11:30 am est) they’ll be live streaming a President’s Choice Superdogs show so you can enjoy my favourite part of the CNE at home live or catch a replay later!

Bring it Home

This year, there’s another way to enjoy the CNE at home! They’ve put together the CNE Box which includes some goodies from vendors along with passes (2 or 4 depending on which box you purchase) for next year’s exhibition!

Will you be enjoying the CNE at home this year? What other parts of the CNE do you love?