CNE warns ticket buyers to steer clear of online discount sites

In pursuit of deep-fried junk food and death-defying rides at the Canadian National Exhibition, many might be tempted to turn to the internet to score a pair of cheap tickets to the annual summer fair.

After receiving numerous complaints last Sunday, CNE is warning event-goers to steer clear of purchasing their tickets through a discounted admission website —

“It’s extremely frustrating, but I guess this is the world that we live in now,” said Virginia Ludy, CEO of the CNE.

CBC Toronto reached out to the website owner several times but hasn’t received a response. 

Site offers $11.02 CNE tickets

The site advertises CNE tickets for $11.02 — a rate $8 lower than the cost of regular adult admission. 

CNE discount ticket

CNE says it has received several complaints from users who purchased discount tickets through the website (

“Users have indicated that the website collects their personal information and credit card data respecting the requested ticket purchase but then does not make the tickets available for download or pickup,” according to a news release by the CNE on Saturday.

Ludy doesn’t know how many people have been affected by the “fraudulent tickets.” 

She reminds buyers there are three valid places they can purchase tickets.

“The only place you can buy tickets is on our website, at, at our gates, or at GO Transit stations across the Metrolinx system,” Ludy said.   

‘Consumers have to be aware’

The CNE says it won’t honour the value of tickets purchased through a secondary provider. 

“I think we all as consumers have to be aware where we’re buying things from online,” Ludy explained.

“Sometimes when we purchase things from online sites we’re not familiar with there are consequences for that.”

CNE ticket

The cost of a regular adult admission ticket is $19. (Amara McLaughlin/CBC)

A woman who purchased her admission online told CBC Toronto Sunday afternoon at the CNE she is glad her ticket worked. 

“That sucks though especially if people spent their money on the tickets and then they come all the way down here and they can’t get in, that really sucks,” Megan Minnott said.

The discount site and ticket ad has since been taken down, and it wasn’t immediately clear why it is no longer online.

Police launch investigation 

With more than a million visitors per season, the CNE says it is taking necessary action to resolve the issue, including notifying Toronto police on Saturday.

Const. David Hopkinson, a spokesperson for Toronto Police Service, said police have launched an investigation into the alleged scam. 

Hopkinson said, however, he has seen similar scams before.

“These are phishing filters so they can steal your identity and make fake credit cards,” he said.

Anyone who may have attempted to order tickets from the website is asked to call police at 416-808-2222.

CNE Midway

Toronto police launched an investigation into the alleged scam late Saturday.

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