Although the underlying meaning of the CNE opening in Toronto is that summer is over, you really can’t resist the kitschy carnival rides, overbearing game stalls and the smell of over buttered stale popcorn and sweet funnel cake. Although as a commuter I am NOT a fan of the traffic on the lakeshore – 2 hours to get home on a Friday night makes this girl one unhappy camper.
I’m not a Toronto native so I never really understood the appeal and pull of the CNE until I went for the first time a few years ago. Honestly, there is no better feeling then going out and spending the night (or day) really and truly feeling like a kid again. As much as I curse the CNE on my drives home and come way too close to running over pedestrians as they disobey the traffic rules, I can’t help but get this grin of pure unbridled excitement as I walk through the princess gates. This year we decided to head out on a Sunday evening to avoid the crazy crowds and of course the daunting humidity. Of course the first order of business is to figure out what to fill our bellies with. With options from your standard pizza, burgers and fries all the way to deep fried butter and snickers bars – the possibilities are endless. I stayed away from most things that were infused with grease but definitely couldn’t resist the frozen lemonade.
Then came the rides. For those who may not know, I’m DEATHLY afraid of heights. To the point that I have actually cried the entire way up on a roller coaster. Yes it was my first roller coaster ever but there were literally tears just pouring out from my eyes. So my dear friends decide that we’re going to risk our lives on this swing like contraption. Sitting on swings being held up by only hooks and chains raised high into the air and then spun around for a few minutes. Death trap. We get in line, I’m sweating and trembling but psyche myself into doing it. Not a big deal, there’s like kids half my size doing it right? WRONG. Because all of a sudden someone (I’m looking at YOU BK) has the brilliant idea to go on ANOTHER ride instead. A scarier, higher ride involving twisting and rotating and swinging – prefer to keep that kinda action for a Friday night 😉
There was no convincing me on this one, this actually required physical dragging. I was sweating and shaking and being laughed at all at the same time. I think the guys behind us thought I would throw up on them. We sat in our little four seater section and the floor sinks. Then the swinging starts. Going higher and higher we start twisting and swinging all at the same. Needless to say my nails were digging REAL deep into the handles. Best part is we get off, in one piece and alive, and I hear “oh man that was a lot scarier than I thought!” REALLLY??? Okay fine, I’ll admit, it was fun for all of 15 seconds. Maybe.
Since the food building was closed and most of the shopping was done for the night there wasn’t much else left to do except for maybe what turned out to be the happiest moment of the night. Tiny Tom’s Donuts. Little bundles of happiness enrobed in icing sugar. I had never experienced this joy before but my happiness was also doused with sadness when I was told that these were only available at the CNE. So quickly I fell in love and so quickly the affair ended. Story of my life.
And so the CNE closes and another summer comes to an end but I know now that the CNE should be a part of everyone’s summer in Toronto whether it’s for the food, the rides or just for preserving that little bit of childlike happiness in our lives 🙂