Let’s Go To The Ex!


In celebration of the Princess’ first day of school next week, we wanted to take in as much fun as possible this weekend.  So today we went to the CNE.  One of my favourite things growing up was going to local fairs.  I loved the smell in the air, the feel of the sun beating down on me, the sounds of the games and rides whooshing by and the sights of the large stuffed animals swinging from the games I wanted to win.  The multi-sensory experience of it sent me into a fantastical ecstasy that only Santa Claus could rival.  My parents were always exhausted, but my sisters and I were on a cotton candy flavoured cloud nine!  Since moving to Toronto 4 years ago today, I hadn’t been to a fair.  I had been to local festivals and ribfest, but nothing with adult sized midway rides, so while Hubby groaned and belly ached about having to go since it “sucked” in his opinion, I wanted to go.  I finally swayed his decision when I scored free admission and lunch for the three of us.

Memories of my childhood came flooding back when I stepped in the gates.  It was all what I had imagined and more.  I had never been to fair of this size before and was impressed by the array of food vendors, rides, games and entertainment.  I had to keep reminding myself that I had brought the Princess and cease my “ooh can we go on this ride?” as I tugged Hubby’s shirt.  I was acting like my 3 1/2 year old.   When we got to the midway, we bought a wrist band for unlimited rides for Princess and a sheet of 55 tickets for Hubby and I to go on.  We had assumed that like Ribfest and Taste of the Kingsway that may of the rides were child appropriate and she could go on them without us for the most part.  Not the case at the CNE.  Many of the rides, including the ones located in the “Kid Zone” are a minimum of 42 inches to get on, even with an adult accompanying them.  Poor Princess was 41 inches and was turned away at most of the rides.  She did get to go on some, but not nearly as many as we had hoped.  To be honest, had I known that she would have had such a limited selection, we probably wouldn’t have gone.

The first ride we went on was the Gondolas and it wasn’t until we were at the very top, overlooking downtown Toronto that I was quickly reminded how petrified of heights I really am.  Princess and Hubby were laughing and giggling away as I curled up and clung to the centre pole with my eyes as tight as the grip I had on the pole.  There was no harness or cage, just a swaying door in a cup at ridiculous heights.  It’s funny how it never looks as high from the bottom but once you reach the top, bring on the belly shaking nerves.  The gondola swung unmercifully causing me to beg my family members to quit moving, despite the fact they hadn’t moved a muscle.  Thankfully they let us off first as I’m sure the ride operators were laughing hysterically at me hunched over with a white knuckle grip each time we passed.

Next ride came the obstacle course that Princess was able to go in by herself.  However Hubby had to finish it with her as the glass portion of the maze is not “kid-friendly.”  Hubby and I waited on the ground level watching Princess maneuver her way through the glass pane maze when all of a sudden Bang! Princess had raced forward and smashed her face off the glass pane at the dead-end.  Tears ensued and the operator rushed in and brought her out.  While we were consoling her and getting Hubby ready to go through with her, came another Bang! when another little boy had pulled the same thing as Princess.  Turns out, children and glass houses don’t mix.  Hubby even admitted that he had to keep his arm extended so that he didn’t do it too.

Princess is a fast paced, speed junkie and when she saw the Tilt-A-Whirl, she had to go.  I didn’t mind as I used to love it, but after today, it should be renamed Tilt-A-Hurl.  The pock faced, pubescent gonad ride operator was as crusty as day old bread, barking at the riders to “sit down.”  He must’ve wanted to unleash his teen angst onto the riders as with each vicious spin, the ride got faster and turned and twirled some more.   Princess yelped with glee, laughing and screaming “faster, faster!”  Hubby tried to take pictures as we passed but his laughter at my facial expressions.  Apparently the look of extreme nausea is hilarious.  I got off with a massive headache and a worse stomach ache.  Princess asked, “Can we go again?”  Um, no thanks!

Overall the day was good.  We ate our lunch and watched performers play with fire and jump through a flaming hoop ringed in sharp knives.  We ate cotton candy, snow cones and candied pop corn.  We had budgeted $100 for today and spent $102.  So not bad.  But a word to the wise, buy the wrist bands for unlimited rides, as each ride can be up to 6 tickets each.  A wrist band is only $36, while a sheet of tickets can be up to $55.  We will probably wait until Princess is 7 before we go back as the rides are not as child friendly as we had originally thought.

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