It’s officially September and the smell of fall is certainly in the air. Although it’s always a bittersweet feeling to see the summer come to an end, there is a certain warmth and calm that comes with fall which I’ve come to appreciate and embrace more.
One event in Toronto that is always associated with the end of summer is the CNE. For those that may not be familiar, the CNE, which stands for the Canadian National Exhibition, or better known simply as “The Ex”, is an annual street fair/event that takes place on the third Friday of August, every year and runs for two weeks, ending on Labour day weekend.
Dating all way back to 1879, the event’s initial purpose was to bring together local engineers, scientists, and agriculturalists to showcase their talent in one main spot – basically like a large outdoor trade show. The event has evolved quite a bit in the subsequent years and has become a pinnacle for diversity, innovation, and tourism, attracting millions of people each year. This year, I’m sure that number doubled since the CNE made its return after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
The trade show/flea market component is only one of the many amenities the fair now offers. You can enjoy a myriad of food vendors, games, and rides, including the widely popular air show sponsored by the CNE which typically caps off the annual event.
Another thing the CNE is known for is having odd food combinations. And when I say odd, I mean bizarre. From pickle lemonade to cotton candy tacos (grab your barf bag), they never cease to amaze by stretching the limits of many people’s stomachs.
And this year was no different.
The top attraction for weird food combos for 2022 was ketchup and mustard-flavored ice cream.
Yes, it sounds quite awful at face value, doesn’t it?
But the marketing just works at the same time.
The incredibly long lineup to try this ice cream was indicative of this. The grosser it seems, the more people want to try it. Myself included. (haha)
I opted for the ketchup-flavored option thinking that it might be the lesser of two evils, and do I dare say that it was actually okay. Much to my surprise, I did not immediately hurl.
In my humble opinion, it really tasted more like strawberry-flavored ice cream with ketchup simply lining the cup. See for yourself below. (And yes, that was a french fry inserted into the ice cream which I did NOT eat). I had to draw the line at some point. lol
Now, I can’t speak for the mustard ice cream – that may have quite legitimately tasted awful, but the ketchup ice cream got a pass from me.
Overall, the CNE is a staple in Toronto’s history, and if you’re a fan of the street fair vibe and brave enough to try oddly-paired concoctions of who knows what, then it will be worth a visit.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to September.
Peace and Blessings