Sunday, September 2, 2007
From August 17 to September 3, 2007 the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE or The EX) came back to Toronto for its 128th year. It is the largest in Canada and the fifth largest in North America.
The three day Canadian International Airshow, the horse show called “Tom Bishop’s Trick Riding Show”, and many other events were the main attractions at this year’s CNE. An estimated 1.3 million people attend the CNE every year.
On Saturday at 1:00 p.m. was the airshow, which featured award winning aviators, including the Canadian Forces (CF) snowbirds, flying planes used in Afghanistan. The United States Air Force (USAF) also flew planes used in the military and a new F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft for its first time in an international show. A CF-18 Hornet, Canadian version of the USAF F/A-18 Hornet, 1943 Boeing Stock Stearman PT-17, and many other rare planes were also flown. Everyone could see the airshow but for a good photo and video opportunity freelance Wikinews journalist and others paid CA$5.00 to get on top of Ontario Place, across from the exhibition grounds. There was a ton of stairs to get to the top, but it was well worth it if one wanted excellent photos and video to watch with their family.
“I used to come to the air show every year with my dad … being out there flying over Lake Ontario in my hometown is unbelievable,” said Capt. Yanick “Crank” Gregoire of the CF-18 Hornet, on its 25th anniversary.
General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces, made a brief speech and talked about Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Followed by was a pre-recorded speech made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Then the American and Canadian national anthems were played and the show begun, it even included a live pilot in a Canadian Forces plane talking through his microphone into the speakers on top of Ontario Place. The airshow was something not to be missed as the staggering planes are always best watched live.
In the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place were many vendors and people selling books, cloths, inventions, and even some live cooking shows. There was also a arts, crafts, and hobbies building, which was one of the best places to visit at this year’s CNE. Rides and attractions filled the grounds across Ontario Place.
The famous Iams-sponsored Superdogs performed dog tricks for an audience in a large area, while behind the curtains were salespeople at booths advertising and selling Iams dog food. They perform at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto and other fairs in Canada.
At 5:00pm was the horse show at the Riding Academy “Horse Palace“, hosted by Tom Bishop Sr. There was a woman representing Ontario, a 15-year-old girl from Alberta representing Canada, and a man from the United States on a black horse. One of the horse riders, a champion, was from Canada but moved to the U.S. and has toured both countries. Tom Bishop Jr. stood and rode on top of two “Canadians”, the most rare and oldest horse breed in North America. The horses had to jump over a line of gas-led fire, Tom Bishop Sr. noted beforehand that horses are scared of fire.
At 9:00 p.m. was the Human Cannon Ball, from the U.S. Performed by David “The Bullet” Smith, Jr., son of Cannonball Smith, is the second person in the world that can do the “don’t-do-this-at-home-or-else!” stunt. It is their third year at the CNE. Most people came 20 minutes before to get a good spot. The shot was so loud that some had to plug their ears, and if one didn’t their heart would be beating hard. Smith jumped out like he’s done that stunt a thousand times, he did a push up on the ground and quickly ran back.
While walking to the Ontario Place parking lot, as soon as the “Human Cannon Ball” was finished, the Canadian Forces had several of their vehicles used in Afghanistan on display outside. A snowbirds plane, some LAV III’s, tanks, a helicopter, and a boat were on display. Soldiers were outside to greet and talk to the visitors, and had photos taken. A large banner was hung and old music was playing. People even signed a board beside a tank showing their support and thanks to the soldiers currently deployed. There was also a large tent with real Canadian soldiers giving away bracelets and showing actual uniforms used. They were very heavy and one soldier actually said the cloths are comfortable. It wasn’t clear which base the soldiers came from but one said that he came from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The CNE closes every night at 11:00pm.
It ends on Labour Day at 7:00pm.