Also known as “The Ex”, Canada’s largest fair takes place this year from August 19th to
September 5th at the Exhibition grounds. This is a bittersweet time of year for most Torontonians, who are sad the summer is drawing to a close but excited to attend this annual tradition which wraps up on Labour Day weekend.
The grounds are on a 192-acre site, and with such a variety of entertainment and events to
choose from, there really is something for everyone. Besides the large carnival midway with rides, games and food, there is also a smaller children’s midway. Some of this year’s events include aerial acrobatics and ice skating, a human cannonball, a sand sculpting competition, daily Mardi-Gras parades, hypnotists, music concerts and garden shows. The international air show takes place on the last three days of the fair.
Animal lovers can watch horse shows and competitions, as well as dog and cat shows. There is also a working farm, which gives city kids an idea of what it’s like to live on a farm. Animals range from the common cow to the exotic alpaca.
The casino has 84 gaming tables including Blackjack and Texas Hold’em Poker area with 24 tables.
The Ex is a shopper’s mecca, with over five shopping pavilions to choose from featuring
Canadian arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry and leather goods, furniture, appliances and home décor, international handicrafts, a warehouse outlet with specially discounted products from major Canadian retailers, and an outdoor market.
And it wouldn’t be a carnival without fast food. Besides the usual carnival fare of candy apples, cotton candy and pizza, the Food Building includes artery-clogging food like deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deep fried coca cola, deep fried butter, and for the first time this year, the donut cheeseburger: a ground beef patty with cheese sandwiched between two glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Getting here: There are several ways to get to the CNE via public transportation: from Union subway station, take the 509 Streetcar westbound; from Bathurst subway station, take the 511 streetcar; and from Dufferin subway station, take the 29 Dufferin bus southbound.
210 Princes' Boulevard, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3, Canada
+1 416 393 6300
Google map: bit.ly/mXDeqt
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp
The Monsterkabinett is a permanent and evolving exhibition in the cellar galleries beneath Haus Schwarzenberg in Berlin Mitte. The 20 minute guided tour performance presents 20 years of extraordinary work by the artist group Dead Chickens.
“The Bloch”, a 4m high mechanical monster by Hannes Heiner stands in the main courtyard of Haus Schwarzenberg watching over the entrance to the Monsterkabinett. He rolls his eyes, bats his lashes and flaps his wings, extending an invitation to meet his fellow creatures in the subterranean domain of the Monsterkabinett.
Allow a trusted guide to lead you down the narrow winding stair and into the bizarre and labyrinthine world of the Monsterkabinett where monstrous yet loveable creatures- in turn terrifying, tragic and comical- inhabit a world beyond the imagination. Driven by a compelling rhythm, the fantastic mechanical beings of the monsterkabinett dance and sing. Music and machine merge and thrill to the beat. Highlights of the exhibition include a giant spider which fortunately does not bite, my personal favourite, the hilariously poignant “Trampeltier” and the “Spiegelraum”- a room which has to be seen to be believed. A tour through the Monsterkabinett is an unforgettable experience- grotesque and poetic and berlin underground in every sense of the word.
open Thursday 6-10pm, Friday-Saturday 4-10pm
Rosenthaler Str 39, 10178, Berlin
Experience and learn about the Amazon wildlife, ecology, beauty and complexity in a magical site - an old Gasometer 30m high. It has been turned into an atmospheric panorama with viewing platform by the artist Asisi. Great combination of originality, beauty and information. Bring or hire binoculars.
If you want to stay in the UK this summer I recommend a trip to Llangadog in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.
Llangadog is situated in the heart of the Towy Valley, half way between Llandeilo and Llandovery. Llangadog is on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills with stunning views towards the Black Mountain.
The Last Gallery has been open in the village for the last two years and hosts exhibition of contemporary art from March through to December (www.thelast.co.uk).
Also in the village there are several pub/restaurants/hotels including The Red Lion (www.redlioncoachinginn.co.uk) and The Goose and Cuckoo which serve great food, drink and are very welcoming.
There’s lots to see and do in the area including The Towy River, a favourite with fishermen from all over the UK; Llangadog Common where you can spot Reds Kites and just up the road The Red Kite Feeding Station www.redkiteswales.co.uk/. There is also a spectacular drive along the A4069 from Llangadog to Brynamen passing over The Black Mountain.
Portland's newest and most original art gallery - with blood red walls and a slightly improper sneer about it. Pop, lowbrow, surreal, graphic, comic book art - from Lichtenstein to Gris Grimly and back again. Exemplifies the "Keep Portland Weird" slogan - and always keeps it fresh and interesting. This is what art should be about.
936 SE 34th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
I chose the right moment to go to Grenoble as it was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1968 Winter Olympics which took place in Grenoble and in the ski resorts surrounding the city.
Inside the Bastille fortress there is a small but extremely informative exhibition on the big names of the Olympics and kids will love seeing the wooden skis and ski boots used by Rossignol - a famous French sportsman in 1968, there is also the original bobsleigh used by the Olympic French team.
To get to the 1968 Olympics exhibition take the cable car up to La Bastille and go down the stairs and follow the signs towards the exhibition (in the former dungeon).
Stromovka park is very worth visiting. It's popular but you can find quiet parts as it is huge, and it has a few lakes. The planetarium is here, near the entrance in the park, and is a good diversion. Outside the park and nearby is the Exhibition Grounds, in a few buildings, which I thoroughly recommend as there are very interesting exhibitions for the public on nearly all of the time, and a few really good permanent exhibitions (and a famous big fountain). Take a look at what is on.
The modern art palace of the National Gallery is not far from here and is a great gallery which many tourists miss because it is not near the Old Town, the Castle or Malostranska. It is usually quite quiet and I really recommend seeing it. It could take most of a whole day with a lunch break to visit all of the floors, so one and a half hours is the minimum time I recommend. You can have tea or coffee or a cold drink and snacks there.
The vast majority of people who visit Prague see only the three main areas with maybe also the Jewish Quarter and/or New Town and miss these attractions I mention. But especially if you have been to Prague before, make a point not to miss them. Don't forget the great value of Pension Vltava and recommend it to those who would like a very basic, clean and quiet place to stay with the added bonus of cheap drinks in your room at any hour.
For £7 or £8, have a sauna for a few hours in a basement private day spa near Holesovice station. Another similarly priced sauna in Holesovice is infinit (infinit.cz) which also has a jacuzzi.
I love this place, they always have some crazy exhibition going on, the shop is full of silly postcards and amazing art books. And the café is definitely worth a visit, go to the terrace outside for fantastic views over the Seine and the Tour d’Eiffel. They also organise special events with DJs and live bands.
Check out South End Art and Business Association (SEABA). This great little organisation
connects artists with local businesses. The result is art in unexpected business locales as you stroll down Church Street.
Every year SEABA sponsors the Art Hop during
the second weekend in September, when hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors swarm Burlington.
Throughout the summer SEABA hosts 'First Fridays', an opportunity to meander to see art you’re interested in while sipping complementary wine and snacks.
All sorts - exhibitions, shows, eating, bars, book and record shop, magnificent views over the town and the bay. Slightly out of the way to the casual visitor and apparently part of the university campus, which may be offputting, but easy to find at the top of Penglais Hill and worth the effort.
A fairytale castle from 1607 in the heart of town in the King's Gardens (Kongens Have). Houses the crown jewels and crown regalia in the basement and the rest is a museum telling the story of the Kings of Denmark over 300 years.
A great museum letting you get close to the exhibits.
Located in Kongens Have. 65 kroner for adults. 20 kroner for kids aged 5-14. www.rosenborgslot.dk
Copenhagen’s City Museum is a cosy place, much like the city it represents. It gives you a great impression of the city’s 1000 year evolution from fishing village to thriving European capital.
Kids love the huge model of the city in the old days and there is something for everyone inside. The building itself – former home of the Royal Shooting Club – is impressive. Check out the little Søren Kierkegaard exhibition.
20 kroner for adults, kids under 14 free.
Open 10-16. Closed Tuesdays.
Vesterbrogade 59 – five minutes from the Central Station.
A stone's throw from the town hall square, the Danish Design Centre showcases all that is hot in Danish design. There's always an exhibition on and their shop is guaranteed to tickle your fancy with its wealth of cutting edge design wares.
Entree: 40 kroner (20 for students)
H.C. Andersens Boulevard 27. Just south of the Town Hall.
Tel +45 3369 3369
Be amazed and inspired seeing true-life stories of escapes from the former East Germany. As a New Zealander living in Berlin the last two years, my first stop for visiting friends is always the House at Checkpoint Charlie. Located right by the old Berlin Wall in central Berlin, you can easily spend three hours in complete awe seeing a huge range of stories, photos and more about escapes from the former East Germany. Don't miss it! They also have a great section on European human rights activists
The planetarium is great for kids and families. Centrally located and with kid-friendly exhibits from galaxies far, far away.
They also have an IMAX cinema.
Gammel Kongevej 10
Five minutes walk from the Central Station.
Tel: (+45) 33 12 12 24
One of Scandinavia's premiere exhibition venues, Malmö Konsthall offers up an impressive line-up every year. Second only to Denmark's Louisiana with regards to the big names.
Address: St Johannesgatan 7
Tel:(+46) 40 34 12 93
A project and exhibition space, showing art works of the members of a Thuringian art association. Also presenting the project in Buscha, an old farm that shall be turned into an artist-in-residence.
Schönhauser Allee 172, backyard, 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg. www.buscha.com, U2 Senefelderplatz
The Municipal Art Society (MAS) is a non-profit organization which aims to make NYC more livable. It focuses on many aspects of NY life including planning and zoning but also runs exhibitions, programmes and tours on architecture, public art and the cultural development of NYC. The MAS has its own galleries with rolling exhibits on NY-based themes, many of which are unique to the organization. These run for 6-8 weeks at a time and info can be found on their website: www.mas.org The tours are especially great for tourists though, particularly if you've been to NYC before and have seen all the usual sights already. They take you to little-known districts where expert guides show you around and offer fascinating information on places you might not think of going otherwise, like Harlem, the Bronx, and various areas of Brooklyn and Queens. The Grand Central Station tour is the most popular and runs every Wednesday at 12.30 from inside the terminal. The schedule changes all the time so you'll need to check their website to see what's going on when you visit, but you can just show up at the street corner and join the tour without booking. Prices are very reasonable; make sure to get there early. Tours leave promptly and are often hard to track down once they're under way.
The Municipal Art Society of New York 457 Madison Ave (btw/ 50th & 51st) NY 10022 T: 212-935-3960 W: www.mas.org Subway: B, V, F, D to Rockefeller Center 6 to 51st & Lexington
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