Hire an NPS photographer
2008 Air Shows

Toronto International Air Show CNE 2008

Location: South of the Canadian National Exhibition grounds on the waterfront west of Ontario Place.
Admission: Included with the CNE admission, but can be viewed for free from the lake front shore line parks, in the "spectator" area, however, only two portable washrooms facilities provided in the free section.
Parking: At the CNE or directly at the lakeshore parks $25.00. While public transport (TTC) is available to the CNE, none exists to the free areas. 1/2 to 1 mile walk from and to public transit each way.
Value: Good, as longs as one doesn't have to pay for parking.
The air-box corridor for the air show, is on the waterfront. While it is safe for the spectators, but for viewing or for photographing the air show performers, it is far from ideal unless you have a zoom or telephoto lens in the 500mm and up range!

This year's air show was a huge disappointment! I've noticed that over the years the CNE International Air Show is getting worse, year by year. Even over looking one of the major problems with the air show; the location, (The northern shore of Lake Ontario. All day, the sun's rays are in your eyes and in the camera's lens too. The air show usually starts around 1 p.m. just when the sun is in the highest position and blinding anyone looking south. On a bright day without much cloud, add water reflection into the situation, well, good luck in taking a good photo.) the organizers just do not think from the perspective of a spectator or from a photgrapher's point of view.

I understand the location is fixed and cannot be improved, fine, but why do the majority of the performers have to fly by too fast and way too high?

Maybe the organizers miss the point what actually constitutes an air show, here in Toronto, or for that matter anywhere else. It is about seeing the aircraft perform without the aid of the Hubble telescope! Hello? Do you people ever get it? When an aircraft is flying too high, it is about the size of a common house fly! To see or to photograph house fly sized aircraft is quite pointless!!! Now then, add on top of all the above, the other point which makes the air show worse year by year: selections of performers. Very POOR!!! This year in plain English it SUCKED, just like the program and schedule, because it was nonexistent on Saturday, or Sunday, I did not bother to go on Monday!!!! Two days of suffering and paying $50 for parking, (2x$25) was punishment enough. Program, schedule, and performers? Whoever organizes the CNE air show, should visit other air shows to get an idea of what real air shows are all about!!! In lieu of that, at least go through my site and read some of my summaries of air show I or other contributing photographers have attended. I created a list below, in my opinion why the CNE air show was so bad:

  • The sound of silence! Try installing some loudspeakers along the shore line for the performance, if for nothing else to hear the Canadian Anthem, when the show starts!
  • And speaking of installations, and try some portable toilets too! The CNE demand $25 to park near the shore line, in order to watch the "free" air show, yet a bit thrift on the necessities! Some of us may have to use such facilities, over the period of 3-4 hours the show actually lasts! But no, these are considered luxury and only available in the VIP sponsor section, by invitation only! This year, there were exactly two portable toilets by the parking fee takers. I guess that is a vast improvement over last year's show, when there were none!
  • Air Boss, why do you have to change frequencies back and forth during the show? Other air shows can get by using one frequency, at least one can tune in to hear what is coming up next! Oh but you do have to be different don't you?
  • The CC-177 Globemaster is a large plane, a bit hard to miss when it flies by, but if it doesn't fly, it is a bit hard to see!
  • The USAF T-38 Talon Team, (two aircraft makes a team) flew by once, on both days, from east to west, well done boys, it was nice and high! High enough that with my 400mm lens plus add in the digital sensor 1.5X factor, so now we are talking 600mm lens equivalent, the T-38s were gnat sized in my viewfinder! Now that is even smaller than a house fly!!! Gee that was impressive!!!
  • The CF-18 blasting by from the north about 400 knots over our heads and south over the lake, sounds impressive but not exactly photogenic!! Oh those high altitude loops into the sun truly impressed the audience! Same applies to the USAF F-16 too!!!!
  • How about the Heritage fly-by with Spitfire and CF-18? Would making more passes than one in each direction, as in one from east to west, and one from west to east as on Sunday, be that difficult? Not that Saturday's was more spectacular but at least they did two passes from east to west and one from west to east.
  • The MiG-15 two seat trainer on Sunday that flew by making several passes very high, again with 600mm lens equivalent, it was the size of a fly! The MiG-15 wasn't even on the program.
  • Would it kill the organizers if they would actually use a schedule and the aircraft would fly according to it? On Saturday the CF-18 started the show, followed by the Spitfire and the Heritage flight. On Sunday an F-16 started the show. The CF-18 and the Spitfire were in middle part of the air show. The only thing that is consistent is the Snowbirds, as they are the ones which always close the show!
  • Enough said why the CNE air show in 2008 sucked, once again!!!!
But I've got to be fair, besides the Snowbirds and the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association who always do such a fine job, there was one more positive act that I saw at the air show this year that was fun on both days: the water bombers from Ministry of Natural Resources. I send my Thanks to these pilots!

Some of the participants were:

  • CC-177 Boeing Globemaster III (not on Saturday or Sunday)
  • T6 Harvard
  • T-38 Talon
  • CP-140 Aurora
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • CF-18 Hornet
  • Supermarine Spitfire
  • CL-415 water bomber
  • The Snowbirds
Rating: 4 out of 10 for all the above reasons!
The show highlight was the Heritage flight of the CF-18 with the Spitfire.
© 2008 www.airshowsreview.com All Rights Reserved.
All trade names, trademarks and manufacturer names are the property of their respective owners.
Visit Laszlo Nyary's website!

er bombers from Ministry of Natural Resources. I send my Thanks to these pilots!