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Good Times, Good Memories of the PNE

The fair at the PNE VancouverWell it’s that time of year again when the Fair at the PNE is happening in Vancouver.  This time of year means that you not only have the fun rides that Playland offers, the PNE means the addition of concerts & performances, exhibits, attractions and lots of great food! Although I grew up Victoria, the PNE coming to Vancouver was still a highlight of every summer. In fact the PNE used to give passes to all the school kids in Victoria (my home base as a kid) to remind and encourage us to “take our parents”.

Wooden Roller Coaster at the PNE

Wooden Roller Coaster at the PNE

I was lucky in that I had relatives living in Vancouver, and even luckier that they were willing to welcome a pre-pubescent, hyper active and somewhat loud (yes even then) blonde haired rug-rat into their home for a week. Some of my best summer memories (aside from the camping, I am the Mtn Man after all) were heading to the PNE and a BC Lions Football game with my Uncle. Looking back as an adult and parent.. boy did he have patience! You might think that it was all the rides that got me excited and that I remember. Although the rides were fun, especially the old wooden roller-coaster, there was so much more that got my blood pumping. The smells of all the awesome food for one. “Real” foot long hot dogs that to a little guy seemed like they would never end. International foods like elephant ears or where I had my real first taste of Mexican. Then there was the corn on the cob dripping with butter (I was much thinner then…), smoked and roasted meats and of course ICE CREAM & CANDY! So much to choose from I think I started developing my decision making skills those summers at the PNE.

What about the exhibits you say? Well there was everything from the 4H, the superdogs, the professional gadget hawkers, artwork of all kinds, museum quality travelling shows and of course I will always remember the humongous lines at the lottery home (that I never won  ). Now some things have changed. I remember watching the lumberjack show every year and the really cool demolition derby and I understand that those don’t happen anymore. But fear not, I hear that your PNE entrance includes admission to some of the most awesome summer concerts this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. Besides a demolition derby filled with hybrids just wouldn’t be right…

Super Dogs at the PNE

Super Dogs at the PNE

One of the other consistent memories I had as a kid was the parking. The few times that my uncle and I didn’t take the bus we found that parking could be a challenge. Lots of folks in the area offering parking on their lawns for $20. “That’d buy a lot of hot dogs” I used to say. The one cool thing about the guys I work for, Accent Inns, is that the Burnaby hotel isn’t that far from the PNE and even better, they’ll let you book their shuttle for a FREE ride to and from the fair. Doesn’t get any better. You get to stay in a nice air-conditioned room, not intrude on those relatives you haven’t seen in 20 years, enjoy free parking at the hotel and get discounted passes and a free ride to the fair. Doesn’t get any better.

I’ll finish off by saying, check out the PNE with or even without the kids. Check out the Accent Inn Burnaby for their PNE special.

And thanks Uncle, for being such a really cool guy, putting up with “this kid” and for giving me some awesome memories.


John Espley

Business Development Manager (Mtn Man), Accent Inns