The Ex

The Ex, also known as the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is an annual trade fair that takes place at its permanent home, Exhibition Place, in Toronto. The location covers 197 acres of space in downtown Toronto and hosts a wide array of events throughout the year, although the Ex is the most attended event by far. Exhibition Place houses a collection of permanent and semi permanent structures and is home to several sports teams.

History of Exhibition Place

The area in and around Exhibition Place in Toronto has a rich and colorful history involving military movements, occupations and attacks. Forts and barracks were erected in the area but burned down by attacking troops in various wars throughout the years.

In 1878, the Provincial Agricultural Fair, which traditionally moved from city to city in Canada chose Toronto as a location and was held at Exhibition Place. A year later, the Toronto Industrial Exhibition was held at the site and started a tradition of an annual trade show. Since 1904, the show has been called the Canadian National Exhibition, or the Ex. The CNE has run consecutively since then, except for a five-year respite during World War Two.

During the war years, Exhibition Place was ceased by the government and used as training grounds and after the war, it was used as a demobilization area.

Since the 1970’s, a number of major changes have taken place at Exhibition Place to make it more family oriented and ‘fun’. The site continues to host fairs and shows throughout the year although the highlight remains the annual Ex event.

The Ex Event

The Ex is the largest annual fair in Canada (and the fifth largest in the whole of North America). It attracts millions of people each year to enjoy everything on offer, ranging from parades to shows, from a working farm to midway rides. The Ex traditionally runs through the last eighteen days of the Canadian summer, incorporating the first Monday in September, Labor Day.

Activities include:

  • The Canadian International Air Show – a three-day event that has been part of the Ex since 1949. During the show, aircraft from Canada, the United States and other countries take to the skies and wow the crowds with their antics and power.
  • A daily Mardi Gras parade.
  • Junior and Senior Rising Star Youth Talent Competition
  • A garden show.
  • The IAMS SuperDogs Show.
  • Doo Doo the Clown and other kid-oriented activities.

Permanent Structures at Exhibition Place

While the Ex is the main drawcard to Exhibition Place, there are several permanent buildings on site that are worth a visit. These include:

  • BMO Field – Known as the ‘National Soccer Stadium at Exhibition Place’, BMO Field can hold up to 22,000 spectators and also regularly hosts open air music shows.
  • Central Block – an area at Exhibition Place that incorporates several popular buildings, including the Better Living Center, the Food Building and the Queen Elizabeth Building.
  • Fort Rouille Museum – a monument marking the spot where the original Fort Rouille stood in 1750.
  • The Scadding Cabin – The oldest building in Toronto, this small log cabin was built by the Queen’s York Rangers in 1794 for a military clerk, John Scadding.

Canadian National Exhibition

Exhibition Place, and its annual trade show, the Ex, embodies the lively spirit and multicultural atmosphere of Toronto. Constructed on land that held such military importance for the developing country, the area has undergone major changes throughout the years to bring local Canadians and visitors to the area one of the most attractive and entertaining venues around.

Location: Press Building, Exhibition Place  210 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Phone: 416-393-6300
Email: info@TheEx.com.

Click here to visit Canadian National Exhibition official website.

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