Saturday, August 19, 2006

'Tis the End of Summer

What signifies the end of summer for you?
I'm Radmila from My2SecondShelfLife.
I'm on the sidebar because Blogger hates me and won't let me link in this post...Grrrr,

Anyhow, I'm sharing the guest blogging with *(Asterisk) while the Anchovies are away having a great time...I hope.

Mr. Anchovy and I grew up in the same neighbourhood, so I thought that I would go there for a bit.

I think every native of any city has environmental markers that signify the end of summer.

All Torontonians will agree that when the C.N.E. (Canadian National Exhibition) opens, it's the beginning of the end.

The fair is a summer staple.
I grew up walking distance from the "Ex" and spent many end of summers either with rolled newspaper at the end of a driveway waving potential parkers onto our lawn, or working at the fair.

My first job was at the "Ex", and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who grew up in Parkdale, the west end... who didn't work there at least one summer.

The "Ex" was my window to the world.
When I was in my teens, my world was very small, as most kids worlds are. Confined to your neighbourhood, and to your school.
At the "Ex" kids came from all over the city to work, and I made friends from areas of the city I had never even seen.

If you talk to a Torontonian, there are certain things that they remember about the "Ex" could be something as obscure as the guy on the Midway who used to shout "DOGGIE, DOGGIEEEEEEE!!!" over and over.
Or it could be (for those who liked to dance), standing in front of the Hymalaya because it was the ride that played the best music.

It could be the ice cream waffle sandwiches, or the tiny doughnuts at the food building. Or it could be the concerts at the Grandstand that brought some of the most famous bands to Toronto.

Is it The Alpine Way? which was a way to get back to the main gates from the Princess Gates.
Once you had walked the whole fair, you could take the Alpine Way, and ride above the crowd all the way back to the Dufferin Gates.

The real glam days of the Exhibition are gone, and the last time that The Mister and me went down to The "Ex", it seemed so much smaller and less exciting than it used to be.
Part of that is because we're adults, but part of it is also what urban planners have done to the fair grounds.

dismantled important elements of what made the C.N.E. special and great to make room for conference buildings, and additions to current buildings for the trade show industry.
I understand that the C.N.E. cannot stand empty, and unusable for the sake of a mere three weeks at the end of the summer, but what the planners have done is taken a part of the feeling of this city, and made it just another roadside attraction.

"Bring back The Alpine Way!", I say.


Candy Minx said...

We were talking about the Ex last night.

Has it changed, have I gotten so it seems smaller and I feel bad if I don't go, and I missed it last year...but I usually go at least once if not a few times. Love the airshow. Love the rides but there is only one roller coaster now I think. We were talking about the Ex last night because a family friend and us and afew others made a big deal about it, taking my kid when she was young. He's been gone a long time...thinking of him too this 25th anniversary of AIDS.

He loved the Ex and would plan an entire day there, rides, food, beer gardens, food emporiums...we said we better go to the Ex for his sake, he should would be there if he could...

Very nice post Redmilla, great to see ya and Asterisk filling in for Mr.A.

* (asterisk) said...

"Progress", Radmila -- don't you just love it?! Speaking of lovin' it: ice-cream waffle sandwiches? Ggrrlrlrlllll