Every August Toronto plays host to the CNE, the Canadian National Exhibition, and ever since my kids could form sentences, they’ve h-o-u-n-d-e-d me to go. Oddly enough, just as the gates open on the EX each year I always manage to contract a little known form of Malaria often associated with parental distain for midway lineups, the ever-convenient Malarkia. Oh it’s nothing serious really, just a seasonal affliction requiring my abstinence from large, overpriced nausea-inducing fairgrounds for a period of 21 days. Miraculously it always seems to pass just about the time the air show wraps up on Labour Day.
Though usually up north for much of August, I inadvertently found myself in the city last Monday with my EX-starved kids, my glaring good health and my back against the wall. With no reasonable excuse not to go and nothing but the hope of torrential downpours to save us, Andrew and I resignedly made our way down to Exhibition Place with Bodie, Delia and their good friend Maddie.
As we entered the Princes’ Gates under variable skies, it was clear to see how much the morning’s drizzle had not only deterred the usual throngs, but had left handy little puddles of dissuasion on all the ride seats. With essentially no lineups anywhere, we let the kids loose armed with their all-day wrist passes and the raincoats I’d brought for them to sit on. Of course, the only flaw in that plan was the fact that ALL KIDS HATE RAINCOATS:
So we sherpa-ed their belongings from one ride to another, each one offering yet another opportunity for the kids to remind me how wrong I’d been about the CNE and its life-force-sucking lineups.
Granted, there were no wait times to ride the Crazy Mouse (which they did ad nauseum) and no mass of humanity to push and shove their way through. But even if there had been, I don’t think they’d have minded. They all seemed pretty chill over the reason why: