The bright flashing lights you can see from blocks away, the screams of exhilarated terror (from people who have accepted that they may literally die on the swinging ship), and the fresh smell of straw and you-know-what from the animal stalls. These, the calling cards of the Canadian National Exhibition, not only signal the bittersweet end to summer but also blend together to form an experience that is equal parts nostalgic and, oddly, highly relevant. In an era of smartphones and Netflix, it somehow seems pertinent that we have a place where we can come together in a large group to enjoy more simple pleasures like riding in a horse-drawn cart, eating cotton candy, throwing up said cotton candy after riding the tea cups for the third time in a row, and see things like the amazing Flying Wallendas ride a bicycle on a rope 50-feet in the air. The highlights of this year’s Ex, opening today, August 16th, include a new zip-line that will allow you to fly down a rope like Spiderman with a belt clip, the aforementioned Flying Wallendas high-wire troupe, and concerts by big names like the Beach Boys and Dragonette. The tradition of the Ex we are most excited about, however, is the food.
As much as it sucks that summer is almost over, it also means bikini season is pretty much done and we can indulge. Here are the wackiest/most awesome ones we recommend having a bite of…
The cronut craze, the Beanie Baby of food for the last few months, has hit the Ex this year. Slabbed between two of the sugary cinnamon half-donut half-croissant wonders is, naturally, a slice of cheese and warm beef patty. Brought to you by the heart-attack engineers at Epic Burgers, it is about as indulgent as one can get and, quite frankly, is kind of really amazing.
The Bacon Bacon Bacon Burger
You may want to try and sneak a defibrillator past security before trying this one. Bacon Nation will be serving the All-Bacon Canuck Burger which really lives up to its name. It is a bacon patty on an all-bacon bun topped with a thick slice of peameal bacon and two strips of regular bacon. Oh yeah, and there’s cheese and lettuce and tomato too… but you can pick that off.
How could we forget dessert? Vanilla ice cream on its own is about as exciting as watching cement harden so why not add bacon + nutella + chili flakes? The “Spice Cream Cone” as it is known (and what you can tell your doctor caused you to need the triple by-pass) from Just Cone It is probably the strangest, best combination we’ve ever had. It truly embodies the Ex experience of trying something new, kinda weird, and that you can get pretty much nowhere else.