SuperDogs, Elvis Stojko’s icy extravaganza and six other must-see shows at the CNE
Smell that? It’s the unmistakeable aroma of Tiny Tom Donuts wafting over the city. That can only mean one thing: The Canadian National Exhibition is back again. Sure, it’s a great place to win a giant stuffed Minion, but the late-summer institution also offers a smorgasbord of shamelessly entertaining events. Here, eight amazing things to do between trips to the Food Building.
A artsy Star Trek geek-out
Whether you’re #TeamKirk or #TeamPicard, you’ll find something to enjoy at Star Trek: 50 Artists, 50 Years, a multimedia tribute to Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild. Through illustrations, photography, paintings, sculptures, 3D graphics and more, artists from across the world (including some guy named Leonard Nimoy) show that this is one franchise that has lived long and—forgive me—prospered. Until September 5, 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Enercare Centre.
The furry fury of the SuperDogs
You know them, you love them, and the Ex wouldn’t be complete without them. This year, Canada’s most beloved performing mutts put their spin on the music industry in their new production, Rock & Roll Over! Expect more adorable canines and terrible dog puns than you can shake a tail at. Until September 5, various times, Erencare Centre.
A tyke-friendly Thomas and Friends show
Everyone’s favourite anthropomorphized train is leaving Shining Time Station in the dust and hitting the Kids’ World Stage. Driver Sam hosts this musical celebration of the wide-eyed tank engine, one of several iconic children’s characters appearing at the Ex this year (including Bob the Builder, Mike the Knight, and, alas, Barney). August 28 to September 5, 11–11:30 a.m., Kids’ World Stage.
Walk Off the Earth’s quirky covers set
The Canadian quintet, who rose to fame with their YouTube cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know,” bring their high-energy friends-goofing-off vibe to the Bandshell. They’ve been known to pepper their music with ukulele, mandolin, banjo and even the sound of an electric toothbrush. Toronto-based quartet The Beaches are set to open. September 4, 7:30–9:30 p.m., Bandshell Park.
A sci-fi fanatic’s happy place
Robert Sawyer and Sylvain Neuvel headline the International Festival of Authors’ celebration of sci-fi literature. Sawyer will present his new novel Quantum Night, while Neuvel will read from Sleeping Giants (and may even offer an update on the full-scale, working replica of R2-D2 he’s building). August 25, 6–7 p.m., Wine Garden, Enercare Centre.
A chance to have your mind read
There’s something about the Ex that makes people willing to allow psychics to peer into their brains. Canadian mentalists Mysterion and Steffi Kay join forces as The Sentimentalists this year to dive into the thoughts of anyone brave—or foolish—enough to let them in. Please make sure your thoughts are rated PG. Until September 5, various times, Buskers’ Stage.
Elvis Stojko’s icy extravaganza
Canadian figure-skating legend Elvis Stojko headlines the Ex’s musical ice show, Hit List!, from August 23 to 25 before 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette takes over from August 26 to September 5. August 19 to September 5, 2–2:30 pm., 5–5:30 p.m., Ricoh Coliseum.
The ultra-cool, ultra-cacophonous Air Show
Labour Day weekend in Toronto means one thing: the inescapable growl of Canada’s air force. Yes, the Canadian International Air Show is returning for its 67th year. If you live anywhere near downtown, no amount of covering your head with a pillow is going to drown out the piercing, patriotic wake-up call of the Breitling Jet Team, the CF-18 Hornet and the Canadian forces Snowbirds, so you might as well salute them from the CNE grounds. September 3 to 5, noon to 3 p.m., CNE Grounds.