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It’s CNE time in Toronto, amid a jam-packed event-filled weekend

Patricia D'Cunha and Amber LeBlanc | posted Friday, Aug 19th, 2016

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One of the last hurrahs of the summer is upon us. The Canadian National Exhibition gets underway on Friday, and for many, it is the highlight of the season.

Aside from The Ex, there are plenty of other events taking place in the city, from watching movies on the beach and tracking butterflies at a park, to taking over the streets for outdoor fun and yet another food festival.

And for Tragically Hip fans, the band will be in Kingston, Ont., on Saturday, to perform what’s expected to be their final show. The CBC will be broadcasting it live, and fans can also watch a screening at various locations in the GTA.


Summertime at the CNE

It’s that time again – let’s go to The Ex! The 138th edition of the CNE starts Friday and runs until Sept. 5.

Canada’s largest fair features so many fun things for people of all ages including the craziest foods (bugs are featured this year), and a brand new program on Lake Ontario with extreme water-skiing and the Wakeboard World Championship.

All your favourites return including the gondola ride, the dog show, the funnel cake and the midway. Some of the musical acts at The Ex this year include Randy Bachman, Jefferson Starship, Headstones, Tyler Shaw and Walk Off The Earth.

Click here for tickets.

Pedestrian freedom
Parts of the Bloor and Yonge area will be shut down to traffic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday forOpen Streets TO, the city’s outdoor festival aimed at improving physical activity.

Bloor Street, from Dufferin to Parliament streets, and Yonge Street, from Bloor to Queen streets, will be transformed into “paved parks” where people can jump rope, cycle, take a stroll or rollerblade.

Although some areas will be free of cars, pedestrians have to obey traffic lights at several intersections, to allow drivers to cross Bloor and Yonge streets.

There will also be activity hubs on the route. Click here for a list of locations.

Celebrate the dragon
The 16th annual Chinatown Festival takes place this weekend on Spadina Avenue between Sullivan and St. Andrew streets.

This year’s theme is the ‘Legend of the Dragon,’ which according to event organizers is the “most significant mythical creature in Chinese culture.”

The event features international street food, dragon races, martial arts and other entertainment.

Movies at the beach
“When I was your age, television was called books,” the grandfather tells his grandson as he begins the story of Buttercup and Westley in the classic movie ‘The Princess Bride,’ based on the novel of the same name.

If you haven’t watched the 1987 movie or if you have seen it hundreds of times, you catch it Saturday at Sail-in Cinema at Sugar Beach.

People gather at Sugar Beach to watch movies at the Sail-in Cinema in 2015. PORTSTORONTO
People gather at Sugar Beach to watch movies at the Sail-in Cinema in 2015. PORTSTORONTO

 

The other movies being shown are ‘Hook’ on Thursday and ‘Jumanji’ on Friday. The movies start at 8 p.m. but gates open at 6 p.m. And the best part (as if you needed another reason) is that admission is free.

The movies are shown on a two-sided floating screen set up on a barge in the harbour, so they can be watched on land or from a boat.

Hot and spicy
There’s a family event at Harbourfront Centre this weekend especially for food lovers, and admission is free.

The Hot & Spicy Food Festival runs from Friday through to Sunday. Everyone is encouraged to come savour the spicy cuisine of the Lower Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico, along with enjoying live music from the region. There’s even a chili cook-off for children.

Maple Leafs vocalist search
Attention Maple Leaf fans: Those who have some singing talent could score the gig of a lifetime.Auditions are being held for vocalists to be the official anthem singer for all home games during this centennial season.

Fans pass a flag before a game between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 6, 2013. GETTY IMAGES/Claus Andersen
Fans pass a flag before a game between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 6, 2013. GETTY IMAGES/Claus Andersen

 

Come and show your stuff this Saturday and be prepared to sing both the English and French versions of ‘O Canada’ and the American national anthem.

The tryout starts at 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre (enter through Gate 1).

Migrating butterflies
If you love butterflies, especially the monarch butterfly, you need to flutter around Tommy Thompson Park on Saturday for the Butterfly Festival.

A monarch butterfly on a flowering plant. GETTY IMAGES/Ryan Fullerton/EyeEm
A monarch butterfly on a flowering plant. GETTY IMAGES/Ryan Fullerton/EyeEm

 

Between August and November, this type of butterfly migrates to Mexico for the winter, so now is the best time to catch a sighting of them.

At the festival, people can take guided nature hikes and bike tours, and learn about the more than 55 species of butterflies and moths that have visited the park.

Outdoor yoga
One of the most relaxing events of the year takes over Yonge Dundas Square from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

It’s the fifth annual Yogathon Toronto, which turns the downtown space into an outdoor yoga studio. Money is being raised for the charity Care for Children, a program dedicated to providing free education to rural youth in India.

Road closures

Open Streets TO: Bloor Street, from Dufferin to Parliament streets, and Yonge Street from Bloor to Queen streets, will be closed on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Drivers will be able to cross Bloor at Dufferin Street, Ossington Avenue, Grace, Christie and Bathurst streets, Spadina Avenue, Avenue Road, Bay and Church streets, Ted Rogers Way, and Sherbourne and Parliament streets. They will also be able to cross Yonge at Wellesley, College, Gerrard, Dundas, Shuter and Queen streets.

Chinatown Festival: The southbound lanes of Spadina Avenue will be closed from St. Andrew to Sullivan streets from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Taste of Manila: Bathurst Street from Wilson Avenue to Laurelcrest Avenue will be closed from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

Road work

Ongoing work

Shuter Street, from Yonge to Sherbourne streets, will be reduced to one lane in both directions until Oct. 28 for watermain replacement and road work.

Drivers will encounter lane reductions on Bayview Avenue from Rosedale Valley Road to Pottery Road to build a multi-use trail and for other road work. The closure is expected to last until Nov. 30.

Gerrard Street, from University Avenue to Elizabeth Street, is reduced to one lane until Oct. 15 for watermain and other road work.

Richmond Street West is reduced to one lane of traffic between Church and York streets until Nov. 30 for TTC track work, watermain replacement, and road and sidewalk repairs.

One lane of Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is closed in both directions for watermain replacement and reconstruction work until around Oct. 8.

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