Memories of the CNE

Have you ever had a tradition that you loved so much as a kid, and all of a sudden as an adult wondered what happened to it? Specifically mine is the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. As kids, my dad would take us into the big city for this giant event that happens the last few weeks of summer. It’s like a giant fair with carnival rides, games, sketchy carnies and fried everything. It only happens once a year, during the strange last few weeks of summer, when your so sick of being bored, yet don’t want to go back to school. Sort of a summer purgatory. Anyways, it was always the last big thing we did. We would take the train to the grounds, get there early and plan out our day so we could get on as many rides as possible. The best part is we had unlimited ride passes and ate all the junk food we wanted, from hot dogs and candy apples slushies and fries. We would spend all day having a blast and our dad would have to drag us off the grounds because we never wanted it to end. Flash forward to today, going to The Ex is a very different experience. Not only does it seem significantly smaller with a lot less to do, its so crazy busy. I could hardly move on our visit. I asked my dad how he did this every year when we were kids. Makes me appreciate it more now that I understand it from his perspective. It’s loud, stressful and everything is so expensive (this is coming from the guy who worked in Orlando, the tourist mecca). All I could think about all day was if I hear one more carny holler at me to play their rigged whack-a-mole game I’m going to punch them. And I couldn’t help wondering which ride would malfunction this year and hurt innocent people as usual. I guess that’s the worst part of growing up, seeing things for what they really are. Instead of looking at the world through naivety of a child, you realize that what you thought was great for such a long time no longer is. Considering I’ve been had a lot of life experiences since I was a kid, my perspective has changed, and so have my feelings towards it. I’m now looking at it through a different lens, and it hasn’t changed so much as I have.

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