Address: 100 Princes' Blvd.
Date: Aug 2018
This year the Canadian National Exhibition features an indoor lantern festival. The displays are based on an ancient trade route between Europe and China known as The Silk Road. According to our CNE guidebook it took 55 metres of steel and 4000 metres of synthetic silk to make the lanterns. It took over 40 days to make the lanterns and 60 days to travel from China to Toronto. The lanterns bring to life the stories and adventures associated with the Silk Road. Join us as we walk the Silk Road and see these stories come to light.
The tour starts with a silk lantern version of the CNE's Princes' Gates that welcome us. A map shows the routes taken both by land and sea as this trade route was used. The Silk Road spanned more than 6,500 kilometres.
The Adventures of Marco Polo
Marco Polo was an Italian explorer. He travelled the Silk Road on an epic 24 year journey from Italy to Asia. He travelled with a caravan of people and animals he encountered on the way.
The Four Dragons
Four dragons were placed underneath mountains. They transformed into rivers to bring water to the people.
After the dragons, we encountered the only washrooms on the Silk Road. Yikes! We had better use the facilities as we still have to walk all the way from China to Europe.
The Fairies of Lake Saif-ul-Malook
This is a tale of a prince who fell in love with a fairy. The lake is located in northern Pakistan and on the full moon it is said the lake shimmers as the prince and fairy dance along the water.
Voyages Of Sinbad the Sailor
Sinbad had many adventures. This time he fights a group of cyclops on the island of Krakatoa.
Odysseus and the Sirens
It is said that the beautiful song of the sirens causes sailors to shipwreck or plunge into the sea. Odysseus tied himself to the mast and plugged his crews ears with beeswax so that he could safely listen to the siren song.
Aladin and the Magic Lamp
Aladin polishes a golden lamp and a genie appears to grant him three wishes. If only we were that lucky.
Sancai The Tang Horse
Beautiful pottery replicas were made of war horses during the Tang Dynasty and displayed in tombs.
The Minotaur and the Maze
In Greek mythology, every nine years Minos sent seven boys and seven girls into a labyrinth where they were eaten by the Minotaur. We did encounter the half man, half bull, Minotaur but survived as the maze itself was not very difficult. After all the CNE wouldn't want families getting lost and missing the next performance of the President's Choice Super Dogs.
Atlas Holding The World
Atlas tried to conquer Zeus and was punished by being forced to hold the weight of the world on his shoulders. The two photos above are of the same display from two different angles but they look quite different. You can see how the lanterns transform what you are seeing as you wak around them.
Portraits of Power
This display features lanterns portraying Mulan, an Amazon woman, an enchantress, a wizard and a magician. All powerful and wise.
Animals of the World
This display featured some legends of how animals came to look the way they do. Here is a quick summary.
How the zebra got its stripes? A rabbit painted a donkey.
How the giraffe got its long neck? Got stuck in a tree and the other animals pulled and pulled.
How the tiger got its stripes? A farmer tied it to a tree causing rope burn when it escaped.
How the lion got its mane? Got some sticky olive oil on its head and ran into long dry grass..
This display features a unicorn as well as Carberus, the three headed dog.
It also has hippogriffs and centaurs which both have the body of a horse. The other half of a hippogriff is eagle and a centaur is half human.
Every 500 years the phoenix builds a nest and sets herself on fire. She then bursts from the flames empowered and strong.
Jack & Beanstalk
Jack trades his cow for some magic beans and climbs a beanstalk into the clouds. Here he encounters a giant.
Legends Of The Sky
Icarus's father made him some wings but warned him not to fly too close to the sun or the wax that held his wings together would melt. He didn't listen to his Dad's warnings.
The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg
Each day the goose laid a golden egg. The greedy farmer killed the goose thinking it was full of gold. Inside was just a regular goose that laid regular eggs.
Hansel & Gretel
Hansel and Gretel were walking in the woods where a witch had built a gingerbread house filled with candy. The witch was hoping to catch and eat the children but they escaped.
We had finally reached the end of the Silk Road. We hope this becomes a regular exhibit at the CNE. Even though the road is filled with dangerous creatures, it is great to see the beautifully constructed lanterns that bring those creatures to life.
Map of Our World
Legends of The Silk Road
Post # 225