Let’s Go to the Ex: Vintage CNE Ads from the Past

The Canadian National Exhibition is a staple of the summer’s end in Toronto. For 137 years the fair has come to town bringing games, entertainment, rides, and more to the masses. And for as long as the CNE has been around there have been posters, ads,  programs and more to entice people to visit the Exhibition Grounds near the lakeshore.

Today we’re looking back at 10 of our favourite pieces of print from the history of the CNE, dating back to 1907. Have a look back with us and share any great pieces from the CNE you have!

And in case you’ve missed any of the previous entries in the Vintage Ads Series, have a look back and see what we’ve featured so far.

Vintage Beer Ads                                    Vintage Car Ads
Vintage Cigarette Ads                          Vintage Fast Food Ads
Vintage Candy Ads                                Vintage Lingerie Ads
Vintage Horror Movie Posters           Vintage Shaving Ads
Vintage Christmas Ads                         Vintage Winter Ads
Vintage Valentine’s Day Ads              Vintage Vacation Ads
Vintage Medicine Ads                          Vintage Liquor Ads
Vintage Baseball Themed Ads          Vintage Soda Pop Ads
A Vintage Look at the CFL 

Vintage CNE Poster 19071907

This poster is 108 years old. It’s powerful and represents a time long gone now.

Vintage CNE Poster 19141914

Billed as Peace Year, 1914 was the 16th year of the Canadian National Exhibition, and while the grounds have changed over time, you can see from this posted that it all took place down by the lake.

Vintage CNE Poster 19171917

By The Queen! A proclamation for uniting the provinces and Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick into one Dominion, under the name of CANADA.

It was the 50th anniversary of Canada’s confederation and the 39th year of the CNE.

Vintage CNE Poster 19271927

The Princess Gate as shown in this poster from 1927 looks exactly as it still does today in 2015. An iconic piece of the Toronto landscape.

Vintage CNE Program 19311931

We don’t know what the entry cost was in 1931, but this programme was only 10 cents. We’re pretty sure that 98 years later there’s nothing at the CNE that you can buy for 10 cents.

Vintage CNE Poster 19331933

I think this poster from 1933 would have scared me as a child. The man in the white shirt in the bottom left corner looks like he’s in a lot of discomfort, not a position of power.

But, the guy hanging off of the angel statue does kind of look like Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – or maybe I’m the only one who sees that.

Vintage CNE Poster 19391939

In just 6 short years the CNE posters added a whole lot of vibrant colour. Look at this happy family at the Princess Gates celebrating Transportation and Communications Year.

Vintage CNE Ads TTC 19471947

In 1947, just like 2015, the easiest (but maybe not the fastest) way to get to the CNE is by the TTC. Catch the 29 Dufferin bus and head south til it stops.

Vintage CNE Program 19551955

24 years later, the price of this CNE programme is 3.5 times higher than it was in 1931. But, the art is far more family friendly and looks like it belongs with classic animated pieces of the time.

Vintage CNE Ads 19621962

We wish we had a better copy of this art from 1962.

Looking back, “The Showcase Of The Nation” title may be one of those things that leads the rest of Canada to hate Toronto.

Vintage CNE LoblawsBonus: Loblaws at the CNE

We’re not sure where the grocery store was located at the CNE grounds, but it looks like there was fresh meat from the butcher and all kinds of deals on everything from olives to bananas.

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Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.

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