The Canadian National Exhibition, or as Torontonians like to call it, The E.X  is an annual event that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto.  The Canadian National Exhibition is Canada’s largest annual fair, and the fifth largest in North America.  As with most fairs its history was to promote agriculture and showcase Canadian talent in a variety of fields. 

  The fairs roots can be traced back to 1846 with the first one financed by the Provincial Agricultural Association and the Board of Agriculture for Canada West.  It was also held at a variety of locations across Ontario like, Hamilton, Kingston, and Niagara.  After the Toronto fair of 1878, the Toronto City Council attempted to have the fair permanently remain in Toronto.  Unfortunately, the decision had already been made to move the fair to another city in 1879.

  The Toronto City Council, along with local businessmen then established a plan to host a permanent fair in Toronto.  The new fair would debut on September 3, 1879 and be called the Toronto Industrial Exhibition.  With 8,234 exhibits, and an paid attendance of over 100,000 the fair was deemed a success, and would later become known as the “Show Window of the Nation”

  In 1912 the fair changed its name to The Canadian National Exhibition, and showcased the latest advances in agriculture and technology.  With exhibits like Edison's phonograph in 1888, or the radio in 1922 it began to fulfill  its original mandate.   Then with the inclusion of Conklin Shows  In 1937, the C.N.E quickly became a Canadian household name.  

Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) poster 1937


During both World Wars, the Canadian military utilized the fair grounds for the war effort.  During the Second World War The Royal Canadian Navy converted the Automotive Building into HMCS York, The Army took over the Horse Palace, and the Royal Canadian Air Force used the Coliseum.  At the end of the war the fair grounds were used as a demobilization centre for returning soldiers.


 In 1947 The Canadian National Exhibition resumed operations, and over the years has evolved to meet the demands of a modern metropolitan society.  Located in the heart of Toronto it's incredibly easy to get there, and if you live in Toronto proper, it's usually just a short trip on the TTC.  With the different buildings, and events, there is something for everyone even if amusement rides are not your thing. 

 The CNE is a Toronto tradition that has come to mark the end of the summer.   There might be bigger more modern attractions, but this one is here to stay.  From the historic buildings, to the excitement of a Childs face on the bumper cars, this is a must visit location in Toronto.