5 Cultural Eats at the Canadian National Exhibition


The Canadian National Exhibition marks the unofficial end of summer in Toronto. For the past 138 years, millions have flocked to what is Canada’s largest fair. In fact, this year up to 1.6 million people are expected to enjoy everything the fair has to offer. And that includes the food of course.

Let’s face it. You don’t go to the CNE to eat salads. You go for the rides and to eat food you normally wouldn’t eat (or would you?). And every year, the good people who feed you at Toronto’s annual exhibition come up with ideas to create dishes that are more outrageous than the year before.

This year is no exception. The 2016 edition of the CNE is  is loaded with dishes that you can’t believe exist, much less understand how they were in even conceived. Here are my five must-eats at this years CNE. Get your Instagram’s ready and forget the diet.

Bug Dog @ The Bug Bistro

These guys have a “bug-worthy” menu. Their main attraction is the Bug Dog, a hormone-free beef frank seasoned with crispy mustard crickets.


Spam Double Down @ Miami Press

For those who remember what spam was before email, this will be all too familiar for you. This is a nostalgic dish that features two thick cut pieces of Spam – they serve as the buns – and in between you’ve got bacon, tomato, cheese and chipotle among other juicy goodies.



Philly Steaklair @ Philthy Philly’s

Sweet and savoury, this guy is a cross between a traditional Philly cheesesteak and an eclair. Topped with bacon meats, whipped cream and chocolate icing, it’ll probably make you sit down a few minutes to digest it.



The Churro Cheeseburger @ Epic Burgers + Waffles

What happens when you take the flavours of a traditional burger and combine it with sweet cinnamon fried-dough pastry as buns. You get magic, or something along those lines.



Sushi Burritos @ So&Bu

This is where Tokyo meets Tijuana. Su&Bu offers sushi burritos and poke bowls. And you’ve got your pick of tuna, salmon and shrimp. Small or big portions, this is a great concept and one that will make people line up for more.



All of these dishes and many more are located in the Food Building at the CNE. For more information, please check out the CNE website. 

Got a favourite? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jim Bamboulis
Jim Bamboulis has held several posts over the past 12 years, including National Sportscaster, Food Host and Writer, Talk Show Host, Olympic Researcher and Travel Film-maker.

Born and raised in Toronto, Jim learned early on that the combination of travel and food meant ultimate living. Combining his insatiable creative spirit and desire to document his travels, Jim took his unshakable travel bug and set off to explore. Add the fact that Jim also grew up in a Greek household and he learned that not only does Mom always make the best meals, but as importantly learned the importance of understanding and appreciating the countless beautiful cultures and the integral role food plays in every corner of the World.

In August 2009, Jim founded Travel Mammal, a site that brings together his travels and experiences (both good and terrifying) with the hope that others are inspired to share their own. We are all storytellers, especially when it comes to travel and food. He urges everyone to be inspired, explore and love the world and the people that share it with us. Or in other words, Live to Travel and travel to live!
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