HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


THE EX - food and memories...

The CNE is opening aug 18th weekend. Care to share some must-haves and maybe some memories? Also, Toronto Star has coupons in it right ot save money on purchases in the Ex.

Things I will be eating:

Tiny Tom's donuts - apple cinnamon flavour
Beaver Tail
Curly Fries
Cheddar Fries
Dole Whip
Corn Dog
Caramel Apple
Apple dumpling
99c spaghetti (it's gross, but it's for tradition)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When I was a teen (many many moons ago) I worked at the CNE for a few years and I always ate:

    Tiny Tom's donuts
    Shopsy's corn dogs
    99c spaghetti (was it Lancia?)
    Ice cream waffles

    1. Lolas.

      They were revived a few years' ago, but now I don't see them around - gone again?

      Anyway, that's what I always went for in the Food Building, that's what I always gnawed on all summer long. I especially liked when the cold would freeze your brain and you'd temporarily see nothing but painful bright light. Good times.

      1. I agree with mrsleny on all things. For the corndogs, however, go for the ones sold outside of the food building, not the generic "Pogo's".

        A personal tradition, I've also had is getting a cheap waffle cone for the SWISS International vendor.

        BTW, what happened to the "Foods of the World" vendor stands? They used to be beside the Alpine Way (which was dismantled years ago).

        1. How about H. Salt fish and chips? Dill pickles on a stick?

          I seem to recall coming out of the food building with loads of gum, chocolate and candy in those long thin plastic bags. Did they give it away for free back then or did my parents pay for it while I was busy stuffing my mouth with 3 cubes of Hubba Bubba?

          Definitely Tiny Tom donuts - except with that wonderful white icing sugar.

          1. Ice cream WAFFLES from a stand outside, in the midway area. Freshly-made waffles sandwiching a chunk of ice cream. Oh yeah!

            1. The first visit I remember was when the EX re-opened after WWII. I recall the original Food Building as having a very low ceiling but the big draw were the free samples - every display had them and they were worth waiting for. I remember peameal bacon sandwiches, and ice cream waffle sandwiches (though not as good as those in the basement of Eaton's Annex).

              1 Reply
              1. re: gtw

                This thread makes me happy. The free samples were still a draw in the sixties and there was always long lines for the Heinz and Green Giant booths for a paper cup of soup or mexican corn. Also, cheese from Denmark and small pieces of corn beef sandwiches from Coorsh (the boil in bag corn beef). I remember always getting a foot long from Shopsys and later on the spaghetti, either of which was 25 cents then. The large size coke or orange crush came in a megaphone shaped container and as many cups as you needed. Coca cola gave away those cute thumb sized glass coke bottles ane heinz gave away pickel lapel pins. I always got Nielsens chocolate bars and double bubble gum because they came with free hats. Also, when Foods of the World opened it was all the rage and I fondly remember the drums of heaven from the Polynesian booth and the Olle Bollen from the Holland booth. We always got the ice cream waffle sandwiches, near the bingo parlor and grandstand, but i agree that the Eaton's annex version was better but maybe that was due to a lack of competition and that it was usually a reward for being good during a long day of shopping. That Eaton's still had wooden escalators when i was growing up that seemed postively neolithic.

              2. CHURROS
                Tiny Tom
                Candy Apples

                1. Naleway pierogies with butter, onions, & sour cream

                  1. Oh yes, Ice cream waffles! But, some of the stand are better than others. Some actually just re-toast premade waffles and other actually make them fresh.

                    I always get corndogs from the guys on the midway, fresh dipped and much better than the pogos. I think they stopped serving real "superdogs" last year. They didn't use large foot long hot dogs, but instead just threaded two regular hotdogs onto one stick before battering. =(

                    1. I think he was only there for the one year, but there was a vendor on the midway who sold cheese on a stick.
                      It was a big chunk of cheddar dipped in the corndog batter
                      Oh my it was good

                      1. Ice Cream Waffles.
                        Ice Cream Waffles.
                        And maybe an ice cream waffle.

                        A few years ago I had knishes -- not bad.

                        1. Last year they had deep fried mars bars...go wrong...but, mm, so right.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mtampoya

                            Love those, not the fancy ones in the food building though, the ones on the midway are best

                          2. Honey Dew drink - kind of like orange juice, but sweeter. I haven't noticed it at the Ex in the past couple of years - maybe it no longer exists.

                            Long ago, you could also get Honeydew and hot dogs (that's all they sold) at a counter in Simpson's basement (now the downtown Bay store)- steamed hot dogs on great buns.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Crepes Suzette

                              Ah ... Honeydew and hot dogs at Simpson's .. those were the days. Are we showing our age??

                              I remember the Honeydew came in a paper cone with a metal cone holder.

                              1. re: mrsleny

                                mmmm...Simpsons, I LOVED those little lady finger buns. Does anyone know hwat I'm talking about? They were soft and sweet, perfect for little snacking fingers =)


                                1. re: mrsleny

                                  I loved those paper cone cups! It's funny what captured our imagination when we were kids. So many of my distant memories are food related (probably true of many of us on this board!).

                                2. re: Crepes Suzette

                                  I was there today and the honeydew stand is still there.
                                  It's in a section at the back (facing the alley exit).
                                  Note: the stall is quite tiny, look for a display of 1 1/2 foot *FAKE* corndogs on the counter.

                                  1. re: juniorcruz

                                    It's still there, but every time I've stopped there, they've had no honeydew????

                                    1. re: bbbradk

                                      I was there on Sunday and I asked them for the honeydew but they said their machine was broken

                                      1. re: minto

                                        seems like it's always broken????

                                        my question is, what else do they sell

                                  2. re: Crepes Suzette

                                    And malts in the Simpson's basement. Mmmm.

                                  3. Oh so many years ago. Is the food building really still there? Almost worth flying back. I remember honey dew and vernons or verners ginger ale? And the Aunt Jemima pancake booth complete with Aunt Jemima!!! So very politically incorrect. I would guess she's not there any more. And yes, ice cream waffle sandwiches.

                                    1. what exactly is a beaver tail?

                                        1. re: oishi

                                          Was just there today and had the "Ice cream tail". Tastes great but I don't remember it being that chewey; maybe it was because the ice cream made it soggy?

                                          Another thing I always have at the food building is the Philippino "shrimp fry". It's shrimps in shells on a bed of veggies, the whole thing deep fried. Still tastes good, but the number of crustaceans has dwindled to two, down from four several years ago.

                                          1. re: Teep

                                            I stopped eating the Beaver Tails when they stopped making them fresh.
                                            Now they are frozen, and as the last poster mentioned, very chewey

                                        2. Tiny Tim Donuts and Ice Cream waffles for sure.
                                          Also, the "Family sized coke" you'd get in the food building.
                                          So many memories of the Ex. I went last year and was so thoroughly disappointed.


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            Sadly I think being disappointed by the Ex is the new tradition.

                                          2. Me and the CEO (Chief Eating Officer) went to The Ex on Friday and had almost everything we wanted:

                                            $0.99 Hotdog
                                            $0.99 Spaghetti
                                            Philly Cheesesteak
                                            Curly Fries
                                            Memphis BBQ ribs, fries, beans, and coleslaw
                                            Swiss Waffles & Ice Cream
                                            Hot Ice Cream Waffles
                                            Corn Dog
                                            Deep Fried Chocolate Bars

                                            The highlight of the night was definitely the ribs and the corn dog :)

                                            CFO (Chief Food Officer)

                                            1. wow, I bet that kept you full for a good week after.. are these big portions or is it possible to just taste a little of everything.. Because it seems there is just sooo much food that you want to try, but so little stomache room.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                Believe it or not, the CEO was still hungry after all that food ;) The portions aren't that big except for the ribs which cost $13 (see pictures of the food on our website). Not only was it a great deal, it was delicious! According to the CEO, they were almost as good as the ones he got at the actual restaurant (Memphis BBQ in Woodbridge). A few chowhounds have already done a review of that place:


                                                CFO (Chief Food Officer

                                                1. re: thegreatfoodhunt

                                                  Where is the fried mars bar located? Inside the food building???

                                                  1. re: minto

                                                    it's outside.. near the Princess Gates side... close to the Sony pavillion

                                                    1. re: wjb

                                                      It's the place that sells the chicken nuggets

                                              2. I went on Sunday, find my writeup (by this afternoon) with PICTURES!!! at:


                                                tiny tom's
                                                cheese fries
                                                butter chicken roti

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: qtxniki

                                                  Weather permitting, I may revisit The Ex this weekend.
                                                  If I was looking for a good burger there, which place would you recommend?

                                                  1. re: juniorcruz

                                                    there are a few burger places in the food building, but nothing that looked worth trying.

                                                    You could go to the place in the centre of the food building for a buffalo burger

                                                    1. re: bbbradk

                                                      Yeah... the "buffalo burger". I grabbed one of those last year to see what the hype about bison meat was. Might have been a poor choice for a first impression, though. It wasn't terrible, but it was far from special. Suffice it to say, the best part of the whole thing was that I got to meet that guy in the listerine commerical (the one who was dressed in the yellow toothbrush suit).

                                                      BTW, he wasn't working there, he was just the only other guy in line.

                                                2. Corn dog is my fav :D the footlong one outside!

                                                  1. Went to the Honey Dew booth yesterday, and they had the drink machine working, AND the best, and cheapest corn dog ($3.00) at the fair