Tips on Getting The Best EX-perience For Your Buck. #CNE2011

I'm sending Thursdays' post out early because some of these C.N.E. Deals expire in two days or sooner!

For anyone that hasn't heard, I'm a bit of a FAN-atic when it comes to the Canadian National Exhibition. My first trip was during my first vacation in Ontario at the age of 15. I was overwhelmed by the large crowd, and awestruck by the wild range of things to see, do, and EAT! Twenty-one years later, each C.N.E. season is eagerly awaited, even though it technically signals the end of summer. Last Summer was extra special for two reasons: I was chosen as one of ten Official C.N.E. Bloggers for the 2010 Season, and it was my daughter's first CNE! I got to romp the C.N.E. Grounds at will, armed with 2 seasons passes and a host of other loot (including a Rogers Blackberry to borrow).

The 2011 Season has come and I already have my game-plans laid. FYI-I have heard people complaining about the costs going up at the C.N.E.  To be fair, costs are going up everywhere.  I haven't found any other large Fair selling a $16 Admission ticket that gets you access to the same number of opportunities for Free entertainment.  Haven't been in a few years?  You're missing out on- Celebrity cooking presentations, Olympic skaters, music concerts, the Super Dog Show, to name a few of my favourite must-see events.  Along with discount name-brand shopping, international foods, art and home exhibits, and more!  And for those of you who pay $50-$200 for hockey or concert tickets you still end up paying for transportation and/or parking too.  That's not to mention the cost of food and souvenirs.  Just saying...

Here are a few tips on getting the best EX-perience for your money.

Plan Ahead.
We save up extra cash for our visit, and rarely ever go on big vacations anyway. So the annual C.N.E. visit is a stay-cation for our family.

Set a budget, look at the C.N.E. Events Guidebook, and decide the best day/s for your visit.

Share and Share Alike.
If driving is an option, carpool and split the gas and parking costs.

Circle the Food Building and Vendors to decide what you want to eat. If we are going to be there for 2 or more meals, we share entrees. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.  Also, you will get to sample twice as many foods.

Or go for the less expensive foods for at least one meal.  And the $2 sausage on a bun is a favourite for us.  I find that the large-chain food vendors sometimes charge a little more than the lesser known ones.

My Search For Ticket Deals.

Early-bird ticket discounts- Can help you save up to 30% off regular prices if bought before Opening Day (August 19, 2011).  Tickets have been available for pre-sale at Mac's Convenience Stores since July 29.  Participating Mac's Convenience Stores can be found here.

GoTransit Stations- Purchase discounted C.N.E. tickets at any Lakeshore Line Stop, including Union Station until August 18.  Tickets will continue to be sold at Lakeshore Stations, (and Mac's Stores) but at regular price after the early-bird deal ends.

WagJag Discount- Buy $8 Admission Tickets for Saturday, August 20.  They have links for other discount days available. (Found this deal through a link on facebook.  Though I haven't ordered tickets to see if is works, I have many friends who swear by WagJag for great deals).

C.N.E. Ticket Deals/

Get early-bird tickets (save up to 30%) online by visiting .

$8 Admission @ the C.N.E. Gate on Opening Day Aug. 19/11.

$5 Admission- After 5 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (excludes Labour Day Monday).

Discounted rates are available for GROUPS of 25 or more people.  Your trip must be arranged in advance.

Did you know?

The C.N.E. is celebrating 132 years of tradition, it started up in 1879.

Ontario Place Play All Summer Pass includes access to the C.N.E.

Veteran's can ride GoTransit to the CNE (for Warrior's Day Parade) for FREE on August 20. Be sure to wear something to identify your Veteran status.

GoTransit schedules extra stops to Exhibition Place during the August 19-September 5 season.

Read Past & Present Posts: Official CNE Blog.
Plan your visit: CNE Calendar, Map, Tix, and more.

Credits: CNE banner image.
*This post was not sponsored or endorsed by any of the brands mentioned within.


Mrs. Pancakes said…
oh summer in Toronto is not summer without the CNE! im an Canadian living in the states so i miss certain things!
Hi! Lisa from www.Southern here. New follower from the This Little Piglet weekend hop!
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