Hello everyone! I’m Vanessa from Citron and Guavaberry, and today…
Mom and I hit up the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition aka The Ex) every single year. There is a lot to do, and if you only have one day to do it all, you’re going to have to be efficient! From the shopping to the fuzzy farm animals to the midway, we blew through the CNE in a record 5 hours… here’s how we did it.
I was lucky enough to get media passes, so we entered well before 10am. Our parking was by “The Farm” building, so we took some pics of the empty grounds and waiting for buildings to open.
Right next to The Farm is one of my favourite buildings:
ARTS, CRAFTS & HOBBIES!
My first purchase of the day was from My Featherband. It was a Tardis shaped hair clip that looks like it was made from giant pixels (expect to see this during my FanExpo post coming in September!). She also carries AMAZING fascinators with a twist… like skulls and butterflies.
Other notable artists:
Crywolf clothing – I actually bought a sweatshirt from them but I am exchanging it due to damage (so no pic)
Carmichael’s Meats – I ALWAYS get pepperettes and at least one smoked sausage from them. This year: KANGAROO MEAT! They are located in both the AC&H building as well as in the Direct Energy Centre Shoppers’ Market.
DannyPollak Jewelry – The most exquisite, handmade costume jewelery I have ever seen. I have a few pieces of Danny’s and I always get compliments when I wear them.
Krazy Kitty – I buy Kurt at least one catnip toy here every year (and one year it was a catnip blanket!)
Our first stop in the Direct Energy Centre was the AT HOME PAVILION
Nothing purchased in this section this year, but it is a Made for TV lover’s heaven!
Things to look for:
Persian Rugs – There are a few vendors throughout this area and DAMN these rugs are expensive. But stunning.
Solutions – If I wasn’t walking around for another few hours, I would have bought ALL the organizational things.
Water Magic – I bought the rain showerhead last year and it is amazing! It turned our boring bath/shower combo into a rainfall!
Now we’re at the SHOPPERS’ MARKET and OMG hold onto your wallets, friends.
First, our annual stop at the cosmetics blow-out by SaleEvent.ca.
I look forward to this every year because the deals are crazy and some LE collections end up here. There are TWO SaleEvent booths at the CNE though. The bigger one is on the other side of the building… more to come on that.
I spent a good 10 minutes at the G Fox & Co. booth. There are amazing shades, watches and apparel. The company is out of BC and the owner is a cool dude, Junior.
Make sure to check out these vendors too:
Dairy Farmers of Canada – Sit down for a free presentation on cheese. Get free cheese samples and swag. Then BUY CHEESE! OMG CHEEESE!
Drama Queen – I bought probably $150 worth of stuff from them this year. Lots of amazing statement necklaces! And I found out their retail location is literally around the corner from my new office!
Perfume Direct – Any perfume you can think of at great prices. I grabbed a Pink Sugar last year.
Sweepa Rubber Broom – If you have a pet, this will change your life. It is the ONLY way I can pick up cat and dog fur from rugs, hardwood and anything. I have had mine for 6-7 years and even used it one year to clear snow from my sidewalk.
There are a lot of shiny Made for TV things in this building. Don’t make eye contact. Be wary of the people with the headsets! (Unless you’re like me and you like a house full of Made for TV stuff!)
Next up: INTERNATIONAL PAVILION
There is a lot to see in here, lots to buy, and a lot of vendors that are willing to haggle and bargain. NEVER pay the first price you get. Negotiate!
This is Mom and a “Bobby”. We always stop at the British market to pick up treats for my Grandma and this year I believe there were cookies and maybe some crisps? (Mom, chime in here… I know you’re reading).
Some of my faves from around the world:
Israel – Lots of dead sea products for feet, hands and face! There is also a NAOT booth with some of the comfiest Birk-like sandals.
Iran – They make some of the most beautiful jewelry and they are always up for a good negotiation on price.
Russia – Last year, I got a big ole (faux) fur hat! There is also a second Russian vendor with BABUSHKA DOLLS!
Then we made our way to the other end of the building. Hold onto your wallets, it’s…
WAREHOUSE OUTLET time!
You may recall the last time I was at the CNE, I fell in love with a pair of floral Doc Martens. And here they are again… but a new love has caught my eye.
The beautiful and simple purple leather 8-hole Docs. Practical… right? Am I growing up? (says the girl wearing a Tardis hair clip and strawberry Cons). I bought them. $85 + tax (regular over $200 for this style!)
- SoftLips for $1
- Revlon ColorSilk hair dye $5
- All Simple products, $7 each
- Garnier body products, $3 each
- Lip stain and gloss from CG, Rimmel, Almay and Revlon $4 each or 3 for $10
- Lipsticks from Rimmel, CG and Revlon for $5 each
- Powder, foundation and concealer from Revlon and Almay $6 each (I got my ColorStay Mineral Aqua!!!)
- LE collections included Covergirl Hunger Games, Revlon Spiderman, Revlon Parfumerie, Revlon Marchesa (polish and lipstick only).
Things to keep in mind at this booth:
- They may not have your shade. If it’s popular, it’s probably NOT for sale.
- Be careful of no-name brands mixed in with brand names. (especially in the nail polish bins)
- Do this booth LAST, you will most likely be haulin’.
- As mentioned above, there are two Sale Event booths. THIS ONE HAS SWATCHES ON DISPLAY!
- Be patient with the staff, the ones at this booth may be a bit surly (from my experience) but who cares… DEALS!
And there are more outlets if you have any energy left:
First Aid Zone (I refill my travel first aid kit here every year)
Stitches (like it could get any cheaper?)
On the way out of the building, I noticed the back section where the Warehouse Outlets used to be has a new “MARKETPLACE” area. I skipped it because by this point I was… done.
Make sure to walk through the Pop Culture alley in the North end of the building if you love all things sci-fi!
TIP FOR THE DIRECT ENERGY CENTRE:
Enter and exit through the South doors (on Princes’ Blvd). The entrance to the building closer to the Midway is extremely crowded because of the Dog show AND the rock formation guy.
Last stop of the day is always the FOOD BUILDING
(except this year we totally skipped it…)
New wacky foods this year include:
- Butter Coffee (Hula Girl)
- Thanksgiving waffles made out of stuffing (Fran’s)
- Cheesecake milkshakes (Fran’s)
- S’more Bao steamed bun (Far East Taco)
- Chocolate Fried Chicken (Coco’s)
- Gelato made with Liquid Nitrogen! (Eative)
But if you’re looking for a bit more peace and quiet and some GOOD eats, head to Bandshell Park for Ribfest.
And that concludes our day. We made our way back to the car with our steals and deals and headed home… see you next year CNE!
The Canadian National Exhibition runs until Labour Day. General Admission is $18. BUT on Mon-Thurs (except Labour Day) it is $6 after 5pm!
WIN a KAT VON D FAWN QUAD!
Enter the giveaway here