Yesterday, I attended the PNE, which is currently in its 99th year and gearing up for its 100th anniversary. We decided to have a real adventure by getting there via the new Canada Line, the new rapid transit line in Greater Vancouver. The main line goes from Vancouver to Richmond, a city bordering on my little village of Ladner. Therefore, we had to take a bus to Richmond, board the Canada Line and get off in the depths of downtown Vancouver, and then find the bus to take us east out of the downtown core to where the PNE is located. In total, it took us almost 2 hours to get there! If I were to drive to the PNE, it would take me about 30 minutes max. However, where to park once there??? I must say the Canada Line is a smooth ride but mostly underground and so there isn't anything to look at, scenery-wise, and thus I was glad my friend and I were able to chat the whole way. I don't think I'll be using this method of transportation again any time soon.
Since the first Fair in 1910, the PNE has generated many memories for generations of British Columbians. It started as a showcase for BC industry and evolved into a place where Vancouverites come to celebrate. Whether it is the beloved 17-day PNE Fair, the thrilling Playland Amusement Park or the hundreds of year-round sporting, consumer, cultural and community events that bring visitors from across the city, province and around the world to Hastings Park, the PNE remains at the heart of one of the world's most vibrant cities.
Once at the gate, I had to take a photo of the famous statue that Josie wrote about recently. If you missed that post, be sure to pop over to read all about the famous race when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile.
Once inside the gate, I was impressed by the number of trees that had grown very tall over the years since I've missed the Fair. They provide welcome relief from the sun beating down on excited fairgoers. As we arrived in the late afternoon, we knew there were only a few things we wanted to see.
First, the SuperDogs! I cannot ever go to the fair and not see them! On the way into the Colliseum, we bought an early supper of White Spot burgers & fries. Then we settled down to await these famous canines. If you ever have a chance to see these dogs at a fair near you, you absolutely must go! It's a lot of fun and interactive hilarity and the dogs are intelligent and fast! Their competitions kept the audience on their toes, rooting for either the "Mighty Mites" (the small breeds) or the "Bruisers" (the larger breeds).
Then we decided to see how long the lineup was to view the Prize Home. It wasn't bad, so we joined the queue, finding ourselves at the front door only about 5 minutes later. This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the PNE Prize Home Lottery. It's also the first time that the home will be located on a lot in Kelowna (our sunny Okanagan area in the south-central part of British Columbia.) To see photos of the prize home simply click here. I did take photos, but none of mine equal what is already on the web. Take a look - it's gorgeous, with over 3000 sq. ft. of living space. Click here to read what is included in the grand prize!
Our final stop was at one of the beer gardens where Lorne was bartending - this is his 48th year of working at the PNE as he started as a kid directing cars that wanted to park on the site. He found us a table near the bar and brought us our drinks. Later, he sent over a very nice couple visiting from Prince George (500 miles north of Vancouver) to sit with us. They were total strangers but we had such a wonderful time chatting with them and getting to know them. They were there to hear The Headpins and when they'd finished, the couple continued on.
We stayed to hear Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Born in Canada, Randy is a favourite of anyone Canadian. After a rousing, dance-inspiring hour-plus of some of his biggest hits (Shakin' All Over, American Woman, These Eyes,) Randy ended with an encore of "Takin' Care of Business." The crowd went wild!
We stuck around until the bar closed and Lorne was finished whatever he had to do before he could leave. As we waited for him, we caught a bit of the fireworks display that ends each evening of the Fair.
We didn't even go near Playland, the area of the Fair where you'll find the rides, including our famous Roller Coaster, and the carnival. You could spend at least a whole day in Playland! Neither did we see the barns where you can see cows and horses, pigs, sheep, goats, etc. Those things will have to wait for another day or another year.
If you're ever in the Vancouver area during the two weeks leading up to Labour Day, be sure to visit the Pacific National Exhibition and plan on at least one whole day or more in order to take in all the sights, sites, exhibitions, displays, and concerts! You won't be disappointed.