An aerial view of the entrance of the CNE.

Princes' Gates | Destination Toronto

Tips for planning your trip to the CNE 2024

An aerial view of the entrance of the CNE.

Princes' Gates | Destination Toronto

Founded in 1879, the annual event has evolved and grown over the years from an industrial show into a community fair. Today, the CNE, or “the Ex” as it’s commonly known, is one of Ontario’s great annual traditions, drawing over 1.4 million people visitors each year. Want to make the most of your time at the Ex? Here are some tips and tricks for planning your trip to the CNE.

Buy CNE tickets

Want to save money when you attend the Ex? There are several terrific ticket deals.

  • Advance Admission Passes and Advance Ride All-Day Passes can be purchased online.
  • Save up to 37% when you purchase Advance Sale Gift Cards at select Circle K, Metro, Walmart, Food Basics and Longos in the GTA until August 15.
  • Regular-priced CNE tickets will become available on August 16 and can be purchased online or in person at the gates.
  • Download School Kids Pass for free CNE admission for kids 5 to 13 years old.

Getting to the CNE

Leave your car at home and avoid spending time looking for parking. One of the most convenient ways to travel to the CNE is by either the TTC buses and streetcars (some stations offer some free parking) or the GO Train. The Exhibition Station is one stop (about an eight minute ride) west of Toronto’s main hub (Union Station) on the GO Train’s Lakeshore West Line.

Toronto’s Exhibition Place is located on Princes’ Boulevard, north of Lake Shore Boulevard West between Strachan and Dufferin Street. Get information about driving and CNE parking.

Pick the best rides

If you love to scream and have a need for speed, consider purchasing a Ride All Day Pass for unlimited access to midway rides.

  • The CNE classics: Fans of the Ex come back year after year for these rides that make your stomach drop. From the Swing Tower, to the Mega Drop, and much more, these ones are for the thrill seekers. 
  • The family favourites: If you’re headed to the CNE with the kids, it’s the perfect chance to revisit some of your own childhood favourites like the classic Ferris Wheel, Bumper Cars, Keeps, Sky Ride, Merry Go Round, Dragon Coaster and more.
  • The midway games: A trip to the CNE wouldn’t be complete without visiting the midway and winning a few (or many) plush toys to take home With dozens of classic carnival games like Ring-A-Bottle, Hoop Shots, Skee Ball, FunBall, Whac-A-Mole and much more, kids and adults alike will delight in trying to win some of the available prizes.  

Attend your favourite shows 

  • Don’t miss the popular Canadian International Air Show (August 31–September 2, 2024), which showcases the dazzling aerial acrobatics of modern military jets, vintage warbirds and beloved Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
  • Be amazed by the agile performances of the Superdogs.
  • Let’s not forget cats! Stop by the Annual Cat Show where more than 125 cats from across Ontario will be showcased.
  • Live music: Various performers light up the stage at the CNE every year. 2024 performers include The Western Swing Authority, Pretty Archie, Eric Jackson and The Willow River Band. Check back for the complete 2024 lineup.
  • Talent competition: The CNE’s Rising Star showcases young, talented artists. The competition features performers in a wide variety of genres competing for prize money in front of CNE fairgoers.

Exciting attractions for the entire family

  • From esports and robotics competitions to a retro arcade, gaming and tech enthusiasts will find plenty to do in the CNE Gaming Garage.
  • Complete with a playground and onstage entertainment, Kids' World offers children endless surprises and lots of fun! Stay tuned for kid-friendly entertainment and activity programming updates.
  • Shop for arts and crafts, deals from outlet stores, international pavilion merchandise and so many great gift ideas.
  • The CNE’s Farm provides an opportunity to meet approximately 100 farmyard animals. Kids’ AgVenture, an interactive journey that teaches kids about farm life, is always a hit with the little ones.
  • The CNE offers a variety of interesting guided walks. From visiting Scadding Cabin, Toronto’s oldest house, to taking part in the CNE Ghost Walk, there’s something for everyone.

Delicious food at the CNE

Yes, you’ll find popular treats such as BeaverTails, corn dogs and Tiny Tom Donuts but you’ll also find food unique to the CNE.

In past years, some of the more unique CNE food offerings have included: pickle-flavoured cotton candy, bacon-wrapped chicken wings and cheeseburger-flavoured ice cream. If you're looking for something on the lighter side, the CNE also has various options for healthy food.

Over one million people visit the Food Building at the CNE, where visitors can pick between local restaurants serving cuisines from around the world that fit every taste and budget. You can even find menu options that are vegan, raw and halal.

Don’t miss some of Canada’s most prominent food professionals in action at Kitchen Stage.

Last updated: June 5, 2024

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