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CNE takes top billing this weekend, but other fun events on tap

Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 11:23 am EDT

File photo of the CNE Midway. Photo credit: TheEx.com

Let’s go to The Ex! This mantra will once again be recited as the CNE opens its gates on Friday. The fair is a staple in Toronto, a tradition that started in 1879. Click here for some facts about the CNE.

That’s not the only fun thing happening in the city this weekend. Below are some suggestions to help you plan your event to-do list.

This time, there is a two-stop subway closure to contend with on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) for TTC work. Several roads will also be closed due to various events, click here to see the list.

And just a reminder, the solar eclipse is on Monday, but don’t stare directly at it. Click here for a roundup of where and how to watch it.

What’s on

CNE time comes around
With the arrival of The Ex on Friday, it is a sign that the end of summer is around the corner. But the CNE hopes to buoy your spirits with the event, which seems to get larger with each passing year. This year’s theme is ‘True North,’ which celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. To mark the occasion, an eight-foot CNE sign decorated with a maple leaf will be illuminated on the west end of the Exhibition grounds, near the Princess Margaret Fountain. Also, Ojibway artist Kris Nahrgang designed a Unity Pole – Indigenous symbols carved into a 25-foot cedar tree – to pay tribute to Canada’s Indigenous heritage.

Aside from the midway, casino, music at the CNE Bandshell and international pavillion, food is one the top highlights. For the brave ones, there’s deep-fried cod tongue and deep-fried chicken feet. Another highlight is the thrilling air show, which takes to the skies during Labour Day weekend. There will also be plenty of live entertainment, including an ice skating show starring Elvis Stojko, and an East Coast Kitchen Party filled with fiddlers and the Newfoundland tradition of kissing the cod.

Movies at the beach
If you love the beach and movies, then you can get the best of both worlds this weekend with the Sail-In Cinema at Sugar Beach. Starting on Friday night and until Sunday, a different film will be screened each night on a two-sided screen atop a barge in the harbour. You can watch the movie on the beach or on your boat (if you have one). The movie starts at 8 p.m. with pre-show entertainment at 6 p.m. The movies show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are Edward Scissorhands, Indiana Jones-Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beauty and the Beast, respectively. Last year, more than 11,000 people attended the screenings on the beach and 100 boats dropped anchor over the three-day event. Admission to the outdoor cinema is free.

People gather at Sugar Beach to watch movies at the Sail-in Cinema in 2015. Photo credit: Ports Toronto
People gather at Sugar Beach to watch movies at the Sail-in Cinema in 2015. Photo credit: Ports Toronto


If you are a vegan or want to try vegan treats, head down to the Toronto Vegan Food and Drink Festival on Saturday. Tempt your taste buds with vegan cheese and baked goods, yam chops, bareburgers, superfunghi pizzas, and ice cream made entirely from oatmeal – that sounds very innovative. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fort York and Garrison Common. Click here for a list of vendors.

Canadian Oat Planet from Oat & Mill on Vimeo.

Festival takes over Chinatown
Dancing, martial arts and delicious food from around Asia welcomes you at the Chinatown Festival this weekend. The festival features dragon and lion dances, Kung Fu performances and a walking tour of Chinatown, among other things.

Chinatown in Toronto at dusk. Photo credit: Instagram/torontochinatown
Chinatown in Toronto at dusk. Photo credit: Instagram/torontochinatown


Blueberries galore
If you’re wild about blueberries, Evergreen Brickworks is the place to be this weekend. The site is hosting a Wild Blueberry Weekend to celebrate the delicious super berry native to North America. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, taste, eat and shop from food producers, preservers, bakers and chefs who will feature wild blueberry products and dishes as part of their booths. There will also be a chef’s demo and children’s activities throughout the weekend. The event runs within the Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Market.

Cartons of wild blueberries are for sale at a roadside stand in Woolwich, Maine, on July 27, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/ Robert F. Bukaty
Cartons of wild blueberries are for sale at a roadside stand in Woolwich, Maine, on July 27, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/ Robert F. Bukaty


Yonge and Bloor pedestrian takeover
Pedestrians will replace vehicles on parts of Bloor and Yonge streets this Sunday for Open Streets TO. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features 10 activity hubs along the route. The hubs act as outdoor community centres where local residents, businesses and organizations can lead fun and interactive activities. They are stationed along Bloor between Christie and Sherbourne streets, and on Yonge between Bloor and Shuter streets. Activities include an adventure playground for kids, a bike obstacle course, square dancing and jump rope.

A young girl takes part in Open Streets TO. File photo.
A young girl takes part in Open Streets TO. File photo.


Celebrate India’s independence day
India marked its 70th independence on Tuesday, and you can celebrate it at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday. The India Day festival and grand parade runs from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and features Bollywood celebrities, international music stars, India Punjabi Film Industry actresses and more. There will also be activities including cricket pitch, a kids’ zone, food stalls and India Day sales of clothing and fashion accessories. The event is free to attend.

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 2 shutdown
TTC track work means there will be a subway disruption on Line 2 this weekend. Shuttle buses will replace trains between Kipling and Islington stations. Wheel-Trans buses will operate upon request. Customers travelling westbound on Line 2 who need an elevator are asked to exit the train at Jane station and request a Wheel-Trans bus. Regular service is scheduled to resume at 6 a.m. on Monday.

Road closures
Chinatown Festival: Southbound Spadina Avenue from St. Andrew to Dundas streets, and southbound Spadina from Dundas to Sullivan streets, will be closed from noon on Saturday to 11 p.m. on Sunday. TTC service will not be impacted.

Wheels on the Danforth: Danforth Avenue from Byng to Warden avenues, and Danforth Road from Landry to Danforth avenues, will be closed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. The 113 Danforth and 20 Cliffside buses will be diverting.

Taste of Manila: Bathurst Street from Wilson to Laurelcrest avenues will be closed in from 12:01 a.m. to midnight on Sunday.

Open Streets TO: Bloor Street from Montrose Avenue to Yonge Street, and Yonge between Bloor and Queen streets, will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The 161 Rogers Road bus will be diverting.

India Day Festival and Grand Parade: Two northbound lanes of University Avenue between Queen Street West and Dundas Street, and Armoury Street between University Avenue and Chestnut Street, will be closed 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.