Colourful Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE

Chinese Lanterns at the CNE.jpg

A Great Reason To Visit The Toronto CNE

We love to see colourful Chinese lanterns. So when we found out there were Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE, we knew we had to visit. It is just one of the fun things to do at the CNE. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is in downtown Toronto and runs for the last weeks of the summer. Don’t miss the special exhibits this year!

One year, we actually went back to Spokane, WA a second time, just to catch the Chinese lantern festival in Spokane. When we visit China in the fall, we hope we will find one or more Chinese lantern festivals. We are in China for the Mid-Autumn Festival held on September 24 this year. And Chinese lanterns are only one of the great things that are part of this celebration!

A Great Variety Of Chinese Lantern Displays

A key theme of the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE was Asia and the Silk Road. The lantern displays were a great tribute to the history of Chinese lanterns and the creativity that has spawned a whole new art form. One display showed the Tang Horses and of course, a tribute to the exploration of Marco Polo.

Tang Horse - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Marco Polo - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Marco Polo - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

There were four dragons with animated heads that moved. The legend says that the Emperor was not happy about them bringing water to the people. To punish them he ordered four mountains to sit on the dragons. The dragons transformed to the four great rivers of China.

Four Dragons - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Four Dragons - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Mythical Characters On Display

As the Chinese lantern displays explored the past, there was a large display that showed a number of mythical figures. Odysseus and the Sirens were represented. The Phoenix was shown rising from the flames. Atlas held the weight of the world on his shoulders Sinbad was shown with the cyclops.

Odysseus Siren Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Phoenix Rising Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Atlas Earth Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Sinbad Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Sinbad Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

An interesting array of mythical creatures were displayed as Chinese lantens at the Toronto CNE – peacocks, 3 headed dogs and a unicorn too. The Legends of the Sky display added the flying creatures.

Unicorn 3 headed dog Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Peacock Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Legends of the Sky Mythical Creatures - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Fantasy and Fairy Tales

The stories moved to great tableaus of fantasy. No fantasy is complete without fairies flitting about. Another fantasy series included wise men, Gandalf the White and an Amazon warrior.

Fairy face - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Portraits of Power Amazon warrior - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Portraits of Power Wizards - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Children and adults alike were amused to find some of the classic fairy tale characters created in the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE. Aladdin and his lamp were represented. Jack climbed up the beanstalk and we saw the golden goose. A complete scene depicted the story of Hansel and Gretel.

Aladin - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Jack and the Beanstalk - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Hansel and Gretel - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

There were so many awesome artistic and colourful displays in the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE.

An Indoor Zoo

When we visited the Chinese Lantern festival in Spokane, we marvelled at how realistic they made the animals look. We were not disappointed when we walked through the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE and saw the animal displays. One scene gave us a view into an African jungle.

African Animals - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Some lions were on the attack while others just lounged about. Hippos and zebras wandered in what looked like a field of giant mushrooms.

African Animals - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

Lions African Animals - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

One of my favourite displays showed an animated rabbit painting stripes on a zebra. Signs around the display provided interesting stories of how the zebra got its stripes, the giraffe got its long neck, the tiger got its stripes and the lion got its mane.

Zebras African Animals - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

If you can’t make it to the zoo this summer, the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE might give you a little animal excitement.

Tips For Seeing The Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE

It was great to see the great colourful Chinese lantern at the Toronto CNE. A few tips if this is on your list when you visit:

1) If you want to see them, plan to come this year. They are not there every year!

2) Plan your timing. We stood in a long line to get in. But when we left, people went straight in. Head there when another big event (like the super dog show) is in the middle.

3) When I looked at pictures in advance, I wondered if we needed to go at night to see them fully lit up. This not necessary because the area they are in is dark.

4) Turn off your flash when you take the pictures. Not only will it wash out the colours. It will ruin everyone else’s shots.

5) If you want to take a perfect picture, find the exhibits with the special spots marked. That spot is lit from above so both you and the lanterns are perfectly lit.

Take A Photo - Chinese Lanterns At The Toronto CNE.jpg

The Colourful Chinese Lanterns Were A Great Draw

I must admit that one of the key things we wanted to see when we visited he CNE this year were the Chinese Lanterns. We knew that these colourful displays would be magical. But we were very surprised at how many different displays there were. There will be one for everyone!

The Toronto CNE runs through to the end of the Labour Day weekend. The air show that ends the summer has traditionally been my favourite attraction. But this year it got stiff competition from the Chinese lanterns at the Toronto CNE! I marvelled at the artistry that one can create with paper and light.

Have you visited the Chinese Lanterns at the Toronto CNE? Did you have a favourite one?

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Chinese Lanterns At The CNE.jpg

Chinese Lanterns At The CNE.jpg

About TravelAtWill 432 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

22 Comments

  1. My first experience with Chinatown was actually in Toronto when I was a wee little pup. The lantern exhibit for CNE looks beautiful and colorful. It makes me realize how long it has been since I have visited Toronto and how I really must go back.

    • Steph and Zach, It was great to see the Chinese Lanterns at the CNE this year. I am not sure if they are there this year but it certainly drew us to visit. We too loved the animated ones. Linda

  2. I’ve never been to the Toronto CNE, so haven’t seen these. We do have lantern festivals here but again I haven’t actually seen one. What I have seen and remember from my childhood was the paper models made in Malaysia by the Chinese. They are quite phenomenal and really very special indeed. I love your photos – really atmospheric

  3. This is a fabulous collection of colourful Chinese lanterns. Your photos are fantastic. I particularly like the dragon lantern. I’m coming to Toronto for Chinese New Year!

  4. I lived in Toronto for 15 years and I had no idea there was this Chinese lantern exhibit- although you mentioned it isn’t every year, I have never seen it! These are sensational – especially the dragons. Sorry you got your end of summer CNE rush, hopefully it stays beautiful in Toronto for a few more months!

  5. I can’t believe these lanterns, they are beyond words! I especially love the animals – the skill to make these is immense! I love that they have a lantern unicorn too – can I have this in my bedroom as a night light? 😉 The CNE looks like a great day out.

  6. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) sounds like fun. A perfect way to celebrate the last few weeks of summer. The photos are stunning. I’ve missed seeing the Chinese lanterns at the CNE this year, but I’ll keep an eye out next year. It’s great to hear that you can see lanterns well in daylight.

  7. Whoa never seen such colorful lanterns. One or two yes but so many of them together and that too different characters!!! I am thrilled at the photo opportunity there.

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