Pacific National Exhibition

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Pacific National Exhibition or PNE
Pacific National Exhibition logo.svg
Wave SwingerPlayland.JPG
Genre Summer fair
Dates mid to late August to early September
Location(s) Vancouver, British Columbia
Years active 1910–1941, 1947–present
Attendance 800,000 (2011) [1]
average 900,000
Website
PNE Homepage

The Pacific National Exhibition is a non profit organization which hosts an annual 17-day summer fair, seasonal amusement park, and arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It usually begins in mid-to-late August, and ends in early September, usually Labour Day.

History[edit]

The exhibition has been held in Hastings Park since it first took place in 1910. It was opened by then Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier as the Industrial Exhibition. A memorial is dedicated the 29th (Tobin's Tigers) Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF, later perpetuated by the Irish Fusiliers of Canada (The Vancouver Regiment) and The British Columbia Regiment (DCO) since the merger of the two Regiments.[2] The biggest attractions of the two-week fair are its numerous shops, stalls, performances, a nightly fireworks show, and the PNE Prize Home. The highest attendance the fair has recorded was 1.1 million in 1986, most likely due to Expo '86 that was occurring at the time. The PNE was once the second largest fair after the New York State Fair.

Other than the fair, Hastings Park is also the home of Playland, a horse racetrack (which also bears the name Hastings Park), the Pacific Coliseum (an ice hockey arena), the PNE Forum, and the PNE Agrodome. It was formerly the site of Empire Stadium, which has been demolished and replaced with a public soccer field. It is also the location of Hastings Skatepark, a skateboard bowl located to the south of the Pacific Coliseum.

The PNE has played an important role in the history of Vancouver. From its beginnings as a showcase for the region's agriculture and economy, it has grown immensely. This growth has resulted in many questions about the fair's future at Hastings Park. Beginning in 1997, the city has restored a large portion of the park. Many old fair buildings have been demolished and replaced by a more natural character. Although land was purchased in Surrey that was to become the fair's new home, the PNE has since transferred ownership from the province to the city of Vancouver and will remain at Hastings Park. The PNE is a registered charity.

Two attractions at the PNE were named as heritage sites by the City of Vancouver in August 2013. The Pacific Coliseum and the wooden roller coaster were both added to the list. [3]

World War II[edit]

From 1942 to 1946 the PNE was closed and like the Canadian National Exhibition served as a military training facility for the duration of World War II. During this time, the PNE barns, used to house livestock, were used to intern & process Japanese Canadians from all over British Columbia. Here, they were imprisoned, and/or shipped off to other internment camps throughout British Columbia, and Alberta. The Momiji (Japanese word for Maple) Gardens, on the PNE grounds, serve as a reminder and memorial, for this dark chapter in Canadian history. The barns themselves are still used to house livestock during the annual fair, and serve as storage area to house some of the PNE's property the rest of the year.

Restoration of Hastings Park[edit]

During 1997-1998, the PNE grounds was transformed with the demolition of a number of buildings including the Food Building, Showmart and the Poultry Building. This gave way to the Sanctuary, a parkland setting with a pond. The pond itself restored part of a stream that once flowed in the park out to the Burrard Inlet.

List of buildings at the PNE[edit]

Following the plans to revitalize Hastings Park, many of the PNE's historic buildings were demolished.

A list of the buildings and structures presently used for the PNE:

Lost buildings of the PNE[edit]

  • Armed Services Display Building (1950s)
  • Aquarium
  • Athletic Field (1910)
  • Baby Dipper
  • Band Stand
  • 1950s BC Pavilion; later BC Sports Hall of Fame
  • Dining Hall
  • Dip the Dips (1915)
  • Directors' Dining Room
  • Display Barn
  • District Display Exhibit
  • Empire Stadium(1954); later Empire lot and now Empire Field (and maintained by the Vancouver Parks Board)
  • Feed Store
  • Ferryboat Wharf (1910)
  • Food Building (a.k.a. Pure Foods Building, 1931); now part of the Sanctuary parkland
  • Forestry Hall (1913)
  • Fountain
  • Giant Dipper
  • Grandstand (1910)
  • Green House
  • Happyland Carousel Building
  • Horticultural Building
  • Industrial Building (1910); later as The Women's Building
  • Livestock Judging Pavilion
  • Manufacturers' Building; also Machinery Hall and later Transportation Building (1910)
  • Mineral Exhibit
  • Miniature Railway
  • Post Office
  • Poultry & Pigeon building (1950s)
  • Press Bureau
  • Pure Foods Building (1931)
  • Race Track and Stables (around 1905)
  • Racing Paddock
  • Refreshment Stands
  • Sheep Stables
  • Shoot the Chutes
  • Showmart (1931); now part of the Sanctuary parkland
  • Skid Road (Midway) (1910)
  • Stable Restaurant
  • Stock Judging Building
  • Streetcar Station (1910)
  • Swine Building (1950s)
  • Vaudeville Stage


Transportation[edit]

Early fair goers arrived by streetcar (until 1958) via Renfrew Street. Today, the park can be reached by car (with a parking lot to the north west, north east, south east, and one south which is across the street from Playland's entrance) and public transit.

Technically Historic Miller Drive, which runs east to west through the grounds, is a city street. Renfrew Street and Hastings Street form the west and south boundaries of the park.

Entrances[edit]

  • Main Entrance Gate - Hastings and Renfrew Street (Gate 1)
  • Coliseum Gate - bus loop at Pacific Coliseum (Gate 5)
  • Racetrack Gate - Hastings Park Parking Entrance (Gate 7)
  • Miller Gate - Miller Drive (Gate 10)
  • Playland Gate - Hastings and Windermere Street (Gate 13)

See also[edit]

Other Canadian annual fairs

References[edit]

  1. ^ Andrea Macpherson (2011-09-06). "PNE sees massive drop in attendance". News1130. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  2. ^ "29th (Tobin's Tigers) Canadian Infantry Battalion, CEF, memorial". National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials. National Defence Canada. 2008-04-16. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.news1130.com/2013/08/28/new-heritage-sites-named-on-fair-at-the-pne-grounds/

External links[edit]