By Celine Tran
At the start of the pandemic, everywhere around the world, including Toronto, went into lockdown. Live events were put on hold indefinitely as a result, and nobody knew when these restrictions would be lifted. This included the cancellation of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), among other popular and sought-after events around the world. It wasn’t until a few months ago that this restriction was lifted, meaning that the CNE would be coming back this year once again.
Back in 2020, during the peak of the pandemic, the CNE announced that they wouldn’t be opening during the summer. The last time the CNE had to be put on hold was during World War II, which really says something about the severity of Covid-19. This was a big deal since the CNE has always been an iconic aspect of Toronto with an estimated 1.4 million people attending each year. A lot of people were looking forward to going especially since it was stressful being in lockdown for so long. Although there were high hopes that the CNE would reopen in the following year, unfortunately, it got cancelled once again in 2021. There were numerous articles and rumours circulating that the CNE would close forever due to the lack of financial support. However, these were debunked when the official CNE Twitter account and John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, announced that the CNE will finally open this year in 2022, from August 19th to September 5th.
On the official CNE website, it’s stated that proof of vaccination is not required and masks are optional in accordance with Toronto Public Health guidelines. When an anonymous ninth grader from Harbord was asked about how they felt about these policies, they said, “I agree that the CNE shouldn't enforce a mask policy or a vaccination policy considering how far we are into the pandemic. I understand that it may make people uncomfortable knowing that there is a potential risk. However, if you choose to go to the CNE, you're going at your own risk knowing that you could potentially get Covid.”
Some people have different views on this topic though. Another student said, “I think that it’s a little worrying considering the fact that we already have so many Covid cases in Ontario and specifically Toronto. It makes me feel a little bit hesitant about going, but Ontario has already been lifting restrictions in general, so what’s new?”
There are very mixed emotions about the CNE returning this year despite how highly anticipated the event is. Some people feel willing to go even with potential risk, while others are uncertain. Whatever the case may be, choosing whatever makes you comfortable is the best option. If you do decide to go this year, remember to stay safe and have fun!