The 2023 Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is gearing up for a remarkable Labour Day weekend as early attendance figures suggest that this year’s turnout will match or even surpass the near record-breaking numbers from the previous year. With the long weekend forecast set to be bright and sunny, organizers are optimistic about the festivities ahead.
Last year’s attendance at the CNE reached an impressive 1.56 million visitors, marking one of the highest turnouts in the past seven years. This surge in attendance was fueled by the excitement following the end of a historic two-year closure due to the pandemic. This year, the CNE returned with renewed financial stability, aiming to maintain a crowd close to or exceeding 1.5 million visitors.
Key attractions such as the Canadian International Air Show and popular features like the 150ft Superwheel and Fountain Show are expected to draw massive crowds. Additionally, beloved returning staples like the Gaming Garage sponsored by Intel, the CNE Drone Show presented by Vinfast, the Celebrity Kitchen Stage, and the Ice Skating & Acrobatics Show featuring Elvis Stojko have been captivating audiences daily.
The CNE’s lineup also includes performances by renowned artists on the Bandshell Stage, including the likes of Dionne Warwick. The internationally acclaimed exhibition “The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains,” which has been extended until October 1, has added to the event’s allure, providing a perfect blend of new and nostalgic experiences.
Darrell Brown, CEO of the CNE, remarked, “Even if we come close to matching last year’s attendance, it’s a remarkable achievement considering we don’t have the pent-up demand from the pandemic that drove the record crowds last year. The enduring success of the CNE is a testament to its place as one of Toronto’s most cherished and successful annual events.”
Beyond its annual 18-day Fair, the CNE has a long-term strategy to expand its offerings and engage the community throughout the year. With over 110 vendors in the Food Building, more than 100 concessions and games in the Midway, and a substantial number of indoor and outdoor retail vendors, the CNE plays a significant role in generating sales and revenue for various businesses. A recent study highlighted the CNE’s economic impact, contributing around $112 million to the Greater Toronto Area and $142 million to the province of Ontario annually while in operation.
As the CNE approaches its final weekend, attendees can look forward to exciting highlights, including the 74th Canadian International Air Show featuring the Canadian Snowbirds and the US Navy Blue Angels, captivating performances on the CNE Bandshell Stage, the CNE’s Rising Star Competition Finals, and the thrilling Ice Skating & Acrobatics Show featuring Elvis Stojko. The Food Truck Frenzy & Craft Beer Festival will also add to the culinary delights available for visitors to enjoy.
With its blend of captivating attractions, engaging performances, and a diverse array of vendors, the 2023 Canadian National Exhibition is poised to end on a high note, continuing its legacy as a beloved and successful annual event in Toronto.