The Ex opens tomorrow. That's a swell excuse to delve into the vault and share my memories of the CNE from when I worked there as a game booth attendant in my teens.
I typically closed up the booth at the end of the night. The park would close, I'd wait for the midway to empty and then begin bringing down the flash. The money would go to the office, the giant stuffed toys would come down from all around the booth and I'd lock up the game.
The game I worked and eventually managed was very close to the Polar Express. Every single night without failure the Polar Express' killer sound system would play Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" at the very end of the night. Every single night while I locked up the booth I'd find myself alone in the summer night with Louis Armstrong wafting though my ears. It was the ideal song to penetrate the silence in the wee hours of the night after another long day of hustling and bustling. It brought a wonderful blend of calmness and hope to an otherwise chaotic arena.
To this day I can't hear a note of that song without instantly returning to the summers of '89, '90 and '91. It remains a personal favourite.
[ripped straight outta this blog, originally shared on August 26, 2004]