That is until late August rolls around, and the time comes for my wife and I to make our annual pilgrimage to the CNE. Except that this year, it wasn’t just Kate and I headed to Toronto - we had our nine-month old daughter Abby with us. So what should have been Part VI of my annual recap at the Ex, was actually Part I of a new Knight family saga. And, as to make our day that much better we brought along Kate’s sister Laurel and our brother-in-law Jan, who are visiting for about two weeks from London, England, and were celebrating their first anniversary the next day.
As has been the case for the past six years of this column, the primary objective of the day was to sample the delicious food that the CNE has become more and more known for. Longtime readers will no doubt be interested to know that although we searched high and low, we couldn’t find deep fried butter anywhere on the grounds, and that’s likely for the best.
However, there were still an astounding amount of food options, and with that in mind, we attended on Day 2 of Food Truck Frenzy, on Saturday, Aug. 29. Over the past three years this event has grown from a small smattering of trucks in front of the Prince’s Gates to more than 40 mobile food vendors, lining both sides of the street, complete with craft beer vendors in the middle offering an amazing assortment of microbrews.
We waded through the hungry crowds before returning to an old favourite, the brisket poutine from Urban Smoke, as well as Hogtown Smoke’s pulled pork poutine. Both dishes lived up to the high expectations we had given to Jan and Laurel over these past few years, and going forward, the standard first anniversary gift won’t be paper, it’ll be poutine!
With Abby in tow, a lot of the events and attractions took on new meanings, and one of the real highlights of my day was seeing her reaction to all of the different animals on display at The Farm.
Another great highlight was the art display highlighting the Big Bang Theory. Artists from around the world contributed to the project, with some excellent pieces on display.
As well, I have to mention the sand castle competition, which continues to astound me. I can’t fathom how these artists create such elaborate works out of sand. The display tops itself every year.
Having stuffed ourselves at the food trucks, a lot of the new options at the Food Building were too much for us, so there was no burger with a Jamaican beef patty bun, chocolate fried chicken or Thanksgiving waffle (our highlight from last year) on the menu for us this time around.
However, we did have an awesome coffee and doughnut milkshake from Fran’s, and after being teased by our tales for years, Laurel got her wish and the four of us split a deep fried Mars bar and deep fried Twix Bar. The final verdict? 10/10 for Mars, and 8/10 for Twix. Had deep fried cheesecake not been sold out, I’m convinced that it would have broken the scoring system with, at least a 14/10,
Another summer has come and gone, and for all of us, the CNE proved again why it’s always possible finale to the season.