The Best Spots to Watch the CNE Air Show


Have you planned your Labor Day Weekend this year? With all the Covid-19 restrictions lifted worldwide, you can expect fun-filled activities at the Canadian National Exhibition, especially the Canadian International Air Show.

The Toronto Air Show can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Some people stay home and watch the show live on TV, others watch from parks along the waterfront, while a lucky few might enjoy it on a boat rental somewhere in Lake Ontario.

If you’re still undecided, we’ve listed down some of the best places in and around Toronto to catch the air show.

1. Center Stage Viewing

Nothing beats the view from the grandstand at center stage. For an entrance fee of $80 or so, you can sit at Marilyn Bell Park and enjoy the show.

You’re given a chance to pick the seat that you want depending on availability, and there are extras, like food and drink you can enjoy, as well. If you want to watch the air show up close, getting VIP tickets will give you the best spot.

2. Canadian National Exhibition

Most are probably going to The Ex during the weekend and you want to try some of the activities there. Instead of paying for the VIP tickets, you can just enjoy the air show from the Exhibition grounds.

You’ll still need to pay for the tickets to enter the CNE, but it’s a lot cheaper than getting the actual VIP tickets for center stage viewing.

3. Hanlan’s Point Beach

Going to the Toronto Islands during the Labor Day Weekend is a great idea. The ticket price for the ferry is around half of the cost of admission to The Ex. Also, if you like big crowds of people, you’ll feel right at home, as Hanlan’s Point Beach is one of Toronto’s most popular summer destinations.

Watching the air show from Hanlan’s Point Beach is the closest you can get to actual center-stage viewing. It’s also a great place to see all the rental boats out on the lake that enjoy the show in more intimate settings. The planes will be directly overhead. Pro Tip: the South end of the beach is clothing-optional, while the North end is bathing suit required, so choose the spot that suits.

Also, make sure that you arrive early. The lines at the ferry terminals get pretty tight, so get your tickets in advance if you can, pack a little patience, and keep your family close, as the decks of the ferry’s will be crammed. You can also take a water Tiki Taxi for only $12 and avoid some of the longer lines and crowds.

4. Marilyn Bell Park

There are many waterfront parks where you can catch a glimpse of the CNE air show. Marilyn Bell Park is one of the best spots to try since it is right beside the spectator seating area. You’ll get a clear view of everything.

But, take note that this is the first waterfront park that would get crowded so make sure that you arrive early. Bring snacks with you and other picnic essentials since you will have to get there early in the morning to get the best spots.

5. Budapest Park

This is another waterfront park that you can check out for a clear view of the CNE airshow. If Marilyn Bell Park is already crowded, you might still find a place to sit in Budapest Park at Sunnyside Beach.

If you find a parking spot, even if it’s a bit far from the park, take it. You might end up going around in circles to find a parking area. It’s better if you plan ahead, arrive early, or take Toronto Transit (TTC) if you can.

6. Sailing

Boating offers the best view of the CNE air show to see the world-famous Snow Birds. You get a private space for you and your family while enjoying the serene and beautiful Lake Ontario. If you have a friend with a boat, lucky you, otherwise plan to hire a private Yacht Charter Toronto, such as Gone Sailing Adventures. They have the largest fleet of luxury sailing and motor yachts in Toronto.

There’s a one-mile exclusion zone on the lake near the show area. Getting a boat rental is a good choice because the rental business will know the best spots from which to watch the Toronto Air Show.

This is more expensive than buying a VIP ticket, but the privacy and luxury are definitely worth your money.

Final Thoughts

Plan your Labor Day weekend as early as now, especially if you are looking at Yacht Charter Toronto. These boats usually get booked early, so if you plan to have a unique experience and watch the air show from the water, start planning today and we’ll see you in August.

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