Immediately after entering the CNE grounds on opening day, we ran into a neighbour and her young daughter. The little girl was eating slices of fruit. Not an odd sight normally, but at the Ex, not the kind of thing you’d expect to see. The mind really isn’t able to connect watermelon slices and the midway full of vendors selling cotton candy, candy apples and corn dogs.
On one hand, I sort of felt sorry for my little friend – coming home from the fair with a big bag of spun sugar was always part of the allure when I was a kid. But given the fuss about childhood obesity, trans fats, plus additives and preservatives, I can understand why her Mom would want to limit the amount of junk. Which left us wondering if it was even possible to eat healthy, let along vegetarian or vegan at the CNE. The midway is almost a barren wasteland of healthy options; burgers, corn dogs and candy corn aren’t going to register on anyone’s healthy eating scale. We did encounter a couple of booths with roasted corn, and if you lay off too much butter, this could be considered a passable treat.
This coming August (2007) I will have lived in Toronto for twenty years. I have officially spent over half of my life here. I have spent the last few years writing about Toronto in various forums, and continue to write for websites where I cover the cool and interesting parts of this city that appeal to locals and visitors alike. Yet the list of local landmarks and icons that I have visited is relatively small.
I have never been to Center Island, have only this past summer been to Casa Loma, and have done the full tour of the AGO only once. I have never ridden the GO train, as that would mean having to go to the suburbs. I made it up the CN tower my first year here, but it was rather by fluke, and I was stoned off my ass, and it was before they put in the glass floor; I haven’t been back.
Landing smack dab in the middle of Kensington Market meant that my Toronto experience was a very different one from just about anybody else’s and the little bubble of the market provided everything I could ever need. Combine that with generally being cynical and misanthropic, and the desire to avoid the cliched tourist spots becomes more clear.
It means there is some stuff I missed out on, however, and one of those things is Lick’s.