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CNE kicks off another weekend of fun in Toronto

Last Updated Aug 16, 2019 at 10:30 am EDT

A general view of the children's ride area at the 2018 Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto on Sept. 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dominic Chan

It is that time of year again, when everyone flocks to the CNE for the last hurrah of summer — just before the kids head back to school. There are also other events taking place in the city this weekend, scroll below for a selection.

If you are taking the TTC to any of the events, three subway disruptions will be taking place this weekend. There are also road closures for events and construction. The details are below.


CNE time in Toronto
The fun starts on Friday and continues until Labour Day, so let’s go The Ex! There are several new things this year, including the arrival of Toronto’s beloved personality — the raccoon. Twelve three-dimensional large fiberglass raccoons, each decorated with its own personality, will greet everyone at the Princess Margaret Fountain. If you are in a selfie-taking mood, you might want to pose for one with an inflatable Godzilla who will tower over everyone at the lake. Also at the waterfront, Toronto Adventures will be offering free canoe rides on the 27-foot Voyager.

The food is always front and centre at the CNE, so this year, you can indulge in food items for $6 or less at the Bandshell Park. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Canadian International Air Show, which takes place Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, the Royal Air Force aerobatic team the Red Arrows will be performing stunts in the sky, as well as the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The anniversary edition of the air show will also include historical and new age aviation displays at the Flight Festival. Click here for the CNE guide.

Fun on the sidestreets
Several streets that surround Bloor and Yonge will become pedestrian-friendly zones on Sunday for Open Streets TO — a free event that promotes physical activity. Several activity hubs will be set up along the sidestreets, featuring exercise and dance classes, street games, scavenger hunts, and a kids area.

Pan-American experience
Celebrate the arts, culture, cuisine and diversity of the 41 countries that make up North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean at the Pan American Food and Music Festival this weekend. The two-day free event is being held at Yonge-Dundas, and this year’s theme is Cuban food and music. More than 20 chefs will be at the festival, so there will plenty of dishes to choose from.

Embrace Chinatown
Chinatown is always a vibrant place to be, but this weekend it will be more energetic than usual for the Toronto Chinatown Festival. This year’s theme in “12 Zodiac.” Aside from indulging in yummy street food, check out the cultural performances on two stages that include dragon and lion dances, browse the 80 vendors showcasing Asian arts and culture, learn about the history of Chinatown, watch martial arts routines, and more.

Bouquets of summer
“I love daisies … They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?,” Meg Ryan’s character says in You’ve Got Mail. Daisies are not the only friendly flowers … there are also sunflowers, peonies, lilies, marigolds, and the list goes on. You can buy at the lovely blooms you want at the Toronto Flower Market on Saturday. While at the market, learn about the different flowers and plants grown in Ontario fields and greenhouses. The next market will be held on Sept. 14.


TTC riders will have to pack their patience this weekend. On Saturday, Line 3 will be shut down for one day for power rail replacement, and trains will start running at noon on Line 1 between Bloor-Yonge and Osgoode stations due to signal work. Then on Sunday, subway service will start at noon on Line 1 between Sheppard West and Wilson stations.

Shuttle buses and Wheel-Trans service will be available. Subway riders travelling northbound on Line 1 who require an elevator should exit at Lawrence West Station.

Road closures

Wheels on the Danforth (Saturday closure): 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.

Taste of Manila (Saturday-Monday closure): Bathurst Street will be closed between Wilson Avenue and York Downs Drive from 12 a.m. on Saturday to 1 a.m. on Monday.

Toronto Chinatown Festival (Saturday-Sunday closure): The west side of Spadina Avenue will be closed from St. Andrew to Sullivan streets from 12:01 a.m. Saturday until 11 p.m. Sunday.

India Festival and Grand Parade (Sunday closure): The northbound curb lane on University Avenue will be closed from Queen to Dundas streets from 12:01 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Armoury Street will be closed from University Avenue to Chestnut Street from 12:01 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ongoing DVP work (starts Sunday and continues into October): On Sunday, Stage 2 of traffic restrictions goes into effect on the Don Valley Parkway at Lawrence Avenue East. The following will be closed: Northbound DVP on-ramp from eastbound Lawrence, southbound DVP on-ramp from westbound Lawrence, and DVP shoulders at Lawrence. The closures will likely remain in place through October.

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