Say Goodbye to Summer at the CNE in Toronto

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Canada, Toronto CNE | 6 comments

A Farewell to Summer

I didn’t travel far for this week’s post. I took the streetcar to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).

Officially, September 21 is the last day of summer. For me, summer ends when the CNE opens.

The CNE is Canada’s largest fall fair. The CNE has all the usual rides and games, carnival food and entertainment. The merry-go-round is still my favourite ride.

The Grand Finale of the CNE is the Canadian International Air Show on Labour Day weekend.

Fall starts when the last vapour trail fades away over the Toronto skyline.

Get a Great View of Toronto from the Gondola Ride at the CNE

See the world in the International Pavilion at the CNE

My favourite part of the CNE is the international pavilion, where the world comes to Toronto. Dozens of kiosks sell goods from around the world.

I was enamoured with this hand-painted glasswork from Damascus.

Each hand-crafted piece tells a story of Old Damascus


Each piece of glass is hand made in the glass blowing shops of old Damascus. It is then hand painted in vibrant colours.

The vendors are Syrian refugees who arrived in Canada 10 months ago.

This Buddhist Monk is making a Sand Mandala


At the back of the International Pavilion, a Tibetan Buddhist monk spent 18 days creating a Sand Mandala.

He started it on the day the CNE opened. He destroyed it 18 days later on the closing day.

Buddhism has existed in Tibet since the 7th century A.D.


One of the most famous practices of Tibetan monks is the creation of intricate Sand Mandalas, which are believed to emanate healing and purification.

The only time I have seen anything like this is in Season 3 of House of Cards, where Tibetan monks create a sand mandala in the White House.


The sand is applied with special tubes and funnels


The sand is created by grinding plain white stones. It is then dyed in a range of beautiful colours.

The sand is extremely dense to that it will stay where it is placed.

I returned a few days later to witness the progress


During the creation of the Sand Mandala, monks chant and pray.


Buddhists believe that this releases the positive healing energies of the Mandala to those who view it as well as to the surrounding environment.

The Sand Mandala is complete!


I couldn’t return for the final day of the CNE.

My niece, Kate, also followed the progress of the Sand Mandala and sent me this photo.

The Sand Mandala is destroyed as soon as it is complete


The ritual destruction of the mandala signifies the impermanence of life.

Kate was fortunate to be able to witness the destruction. She sent me this fabulous photo

It felt like summer was swept away with the sand.

This is a bag of sand from the Sand Mandala


As the mandala is destroyed, the sand is collected in a jar, wrapped in silk and released in a river, returning the sand to nature.

The sand is cast into the flowing water in order to disperse the healing and purifying power of the Mandala to the world.

The Buddhist Monks gave the sand to those who witnessed the destruction of the sand mandala.

Half of the sand is distributed to the laity by the monks, highlighting the Buddhist belief in sharing its blessings with all.

Kate collected a bag for me and snapped a photo.

I don’t want to release my sand. I want to keep it.


Should I release my sand back to nature?

Goodbye Summer!


As the gondola ride carries its last passengers across the CNE, summer is over.


Hello Fall!

It is time to plan new trips and new adventures. The fall is a great time to visit New York City.


See you next week in the Big Apple

Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray