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CNE: ‘This ride has all the actions of a kangaroo!’

The Story

Step right up for a dizzying, dazzling day at the Ex! After Gordon Sinclair reads a whale of a weather forecast, midway mogul Patty Conklin takes CBC Radio's Assignment through the jam-packed grounds of the 1958 Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Carnival barkers and ride wranglers fill the air of this soundscape of Canada's largest fair as Conklin plugs his hot new tickets -- including an show with 150 alligators and snakes, and a roller-coaster that rides like a trip in the pouch of a kangaroo.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Aug. 27, 1958
Guests: Patty Conklin, Jack McCrae
Host: Maria Barrett, Bill McNeil
Reporter: Dave Price, Gordon Sinclair
Duration: 6:48

Did You know?

• Patty Conklin, widely known as the Carnival King, built the largest travelling amusement company in North America. The jewel in his crown was the Canadian National Exhibition, held every year in Toronto. Conklin first landed the contract to provide rides and game concessions for the Ex in 1937. Aside from a brief interruption during the Second World War (when the fairgrounds became a troop training facility), Conklin's company ran the CNE midway for over six decades.

• Patty Conklin died at 78 in 1970. His son Jim Conklin took over the business, transforming the amusement powerhouse into an entertainment conglomerate whose holdings included Maple Leaf Village in Niagara Falls, Ont. and the venue at the base of the CN Tower. In 2004, Conklin Shows created a new partnership, becoming the North American Midway Entertainment Company.


• Hurricane Daisy, mentioned in the weather report at the the start of this clip, never made landfall and was downgraded to a tropical storm on Aug. 29, 1958 just south of Nova Scotia.



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