Sunday, 21 September 2014


So this trip was absolutely epic, and having spent 4 weeks going through the photos and writing it up I'm now appreciating just how much we did. I knew that each day was busy but its easy to lose the scale of the undertaking whilst on the trip.

Canada is a lovely country and whilst we didn't see the bears, beavers and mooses I've joked about I was blown away by the scenery and I loved what I saw of the cities that we explored. I'm definitely going back to Quebec City, which I'd probably pair up with a trip to the Calgary Stampede, one of the few outstanding things to tick off a Canada bucket list.

Choosing not to drive means that places that are car dependant are all but inaccessible to me and whilst I could have done most of the trip, the travel costs would have been immense so I'm grateful that Thomas and Tal were happy to drive us around.

I have to say thanks to Tal, Thomas and Christof for inviting me onto the trip and I hope that my suggestions of things to include on the trips were well received. I think I've made 3 new Cirque fans for a start, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to do some non-coaster stuff too.

As I do more independent travelling and doing more than just the coasters (although that'll always be a reason for going somewhere new) I'm seeing myself moving further from the club trips, which is perhaps my one regret. I know that for example they have plans to repeat the first week of our trip in 2016. I'm unlikely to be on it and will instead likely be one step ahead of them now visiting a place that'll impact a trip of their's in the future.

Next year's big trip will either be Italy, Central America, or China. I've yet to decide.

Thankyou to you for taking the time to read through this.

Canadian National Exhibition

We finished the trip with the largest fair in Canada, the Canadian National Exhibition or CNE for short. Originally when we planned the trip we started in Toronto but when we realised we could fit this fair in if we flipped the trip around and finished here.

It started in 1879 and is located in near the waterfront west of the CN Tower. As with most fairs it has an agricultural past but has grown to feature live music and of interest to us one of the largest midways in North America. We'd all gone and done our own thing today so we agreed to meet up at the mouse coaster later in the afternoon. We knew they had one as we'd seen it from the express way when heading to other parks in the days leading up to this one.

The world famous Wallendas were doing a show here. It is very impressive but the look is all so stale, and you know that they'd compliment each trick with a more complex one so why cheer the earlier stuff? Still as anyone who's seen the Karl Wallenda footage it doesn't mean there's not an element or risk with what this family are doing.

The exhibition hall was being used for selling stuff, similar to what we'd seen elsewhere.

This fair site is a more permanent fixture so a skyway taking the lazy from one end of the main midway to the other is a popular attraction. It's also a great way to photograph the rides, but I'd be doing that later.

A large selection of prizes here!

I'll conclude that Beavers' Tails are the same as Elephant Ears. So odd!

The first coaster that I did was the mouse. Yep, I was going ahead and riding before the others arrived but experience always tells us that if something is running it, ride it because you don't know what'll happen to it later. It had quite a slow queue and the most efficient operations I've seen on a ride like this but the ride itself was fine. Kudos to the ride op who'd push the bars down by karate punching them at speed!

The fair had the best selection of spin rides, walkthroughs and dark rides, expected given its size.

Of course there are some fair staples here too including the large wheel.

The Chance Zipper, which I think we'd seen at every fair on the trip.

The Alpine Bobs wasn't bad.

Another North-American fair staple, the Ring of Fire. I did ride this one, I had to do one and yes they are still pretty bad.

The chair swing was one of the more popular rides.

Another gravitron. Good rides and a hot day. A great way to finish the trip.

This Music Express ride was running pretty quick, had the loudest music and was eliciting the most screams. So why wouldn't I have a go?

The second coaster was the Blitzer, a galaxi style coaster that was running plenty of cars, keeping the wait times to a minimum. The ride wasn't bad either. 

Pikachu didn't seem to mind being hung.

An attraction that we wouldn't have in the UK. A pool table where you had to clear up with continuous potting to win the prize.

Nintendo were here offering demos of their new Mario Kart game.

The ice hockey league also had a trailer.

An inspired business idea that ought to have been taken to the Dragon's Den.

"We have a business idea and are looking for 100,000 dollars for a 10% stake in our business"
"What's your business idea?"
"Drink a fruit...from a fruit"
"I'm out!"

Like the rides the game stalls also had the common like this hoop game.

To the unique, this was an air powered ball cannon game where you had to shoot the targets to win prizes or attempt to ricochet off the frame and hit your friends to earn a battering :) 

There were lots of food stands but I was going to hold out for the food court.

As well as the main stages from which we could hear Jessie J covers being sung there were small tents such as this bluegrass jazz combo. 

Inside the food court and this was probably my favourite pun of the entire trip. No copyright case to fight here people, move along!

The food court was huge and it was apparent a lot of local eateries had brought their businesses down here.

For lunch I had, what else, but the local poutine. Christof was so impressed with the simplicity of the meal that he jokingly talked about opening up a franchise in Germany. I've since found a stand on Brick Lane Market that specialises in this too.

Behind the food court was the mini midway with smaller rides for the kids.

and yes, there were coasters here too. The first one was the wacky worm, unique with its blue track and for us a sign that welcomed adult-only groups onto the ride. YES!!!

The second coaster was another Orient Express, this one given the name China Dragon. Again they had no issue letting us ride, although once we were done the ride broke - not the best way to finish the trip :( 

We found a crafts and farm area inside one of the exhibition halls. Here is some art made from rotating cans of tuna. No I'm not sure either, but it looks very clever. 

I learnt all about goats. Who says this hobby isn't educational?

The cow was wearing matching earrings.

As ever, the cattle looked very content and were getting more air conditioning than us.

The Alpaca Gang were in the hizza!

Inside these large refrigerated rooms these sculptors were making art with butter. Nothing from Last Tango in Paris but this was clearly Jabba the Hutt work in progress.

Being too lazy to walk back I too the skywalk.

The Blitzer Coaster

The Mouse Coaster, where Tal had arrived and was ready to ride.

The exhibition hall. It's quite a size!

A little piece of randomness at one of the food stands. 

and apparently its a legitimate claim certified by this random youtube channel.
(She needs to get better with the spray cream) 

Dinner time and I headed back to the food stands for some Bacon. This business debuted here at the CNE a few years ago and is now quite popular around the city, partly due to it's mobile van that they use to take bacon to the Toronto folk. Its website is here

If this was a religion I'd sign up to these commandments. I had a BBBLT which was like a standard BLT but with a bacon steak topped with crispy bacon and bacon pieces. Bacony goodness! They do have a version with nutella but I thought that would be overdoing it a little :) 

Having ridden the mouse, after quite a long queue, Tal conquers the Blitzer.

We did get the wacky worm but the Orient Express was still down. Sorry for breaking the ride Tal, Thomas, Christof and I are very sorry for ruining this for you haha!

A mixture of police vehicles.

Goodbye Fair, and Goodbye Canada!

The fair was great with a good selection of rides, that we could ride, and plenty to keep the non-riders happy. Being the biggest fair in the country the organisation is top notch and one little trip for the travellers is that on the first day the entry is reduced by $10, something we weren't expecting.