The CNE’s food lives on for 2020 at a new food stall


The CNE’s food is one of the annual fair’s most popular draws, with people coming from far and wide to sample the latest deep-fried monstrosities borne from the carnival circuit.

But with the 2020 CNE cancelled – and other Canadian and North American fairs following suit – it looks to be a dead year for the food operators who travel from carnival to carnival plying their wares. (That’s right – many of the CNE’s signature food items aren’t designed specifically for the CNE!)

But if you still want to get that uniquely artery-clogging experience sometime this summer, Leslieville taqueria Barrio has you covered. This summer, their patio will be home to a new miniature open-air market, El Mercado, that will offer fried chocolate bars and pickles, dill churros, dill pickle lemonade and Dole whips, along with classic Mexican fare and everyday items like fresh produce and cans of house beer.

The market, a collab between Barrio and an unnamed carnival food vendor, is “laid out for social distance (with) food safety the top priority,” with a mandatory mask policy, sanitation stations on-site, and a maximum of five people allowed in the area at once. All items must be taken to go.

El Mercado opens on May 23 – so if you’ve ever wanted to try pickle soft-serve, now’s your chance.



Natalia came to NOW as the food writer in 2015 before taking over the lifestyle desk in 2019. She has written about food, style, technology, life and travel for the National Post, Sun Media, blogTO and Metro. She enjoys thrift stores and bad puns.

Read more by Natalia Manzocco

May 18, 2020

1:54 PM