History & Legacy

History of The Fair

In 1910 Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier officially opened the first annual Pacific National Exhibition, known at the time as “The Industrial Exhibition.” The Fair was seen as a showcase of British Columbia to the rest of Canada and the world, and was the second largest event of its kind in North America, behind the New York State Fair.

Since the first Fair, the annual event has become the largest annual ticketed event in the province, and continues to draw in excess of 900,000 visitors during its 17 days.

Many significant events in the history of this province occurred during the annual Fair at the PNE. Throughout the Fair’s long life numerous technological firsts debuted at the PNE, including the first rotary telephone in the Pacific Northwest, and aircraft and rocketry displays. Many of today’s largest consumer shows got their start as a part of the annual Fair including: the Vancouver Boat Show, the BC Home Show and the Pacific International Auto Show, which all began as displays at the PNE.

Over the past 101 years, the PNE has evolved from its role as an industry showcase into a centre for entertainment and family fun. World class and award-winning shows such as Cirque Pop, City Rhythm and Bring on the Night were all created especially, and exclusively for the PNE.

Traditional favourites such as the Superdogs Show, created at the PNE in 1984 continue to thrill over 300,000 fair-goers annually.

For more stories and photos, open Pacific National Exhibition – 100 Years of Fun

History of Playland

One of the most popular attractions at the PNE site is Playland Amusement Park, the 15-acre amusement park (open from April through October) has hosted millions of thrill-seekers of all ages since it opened in 1910.

The Park was named “Happy Land” in 1926 and remained on the original site until 1958, when it was moved to its present site and re-opened under the name, Playland. Previously owned by a number of parent companies, Playland became a division of the Pacific National Exhibition family in July, 1993.

Playland’s marquee attraction, the beloved 1958 Wooden Roller Coaster remains the most popular ride on the site and one of the most highly regarded wooden coasters in the world. Designed by the legendary ride construction team, Carl Phare and Walker LeRoy, the Playland Wooden Coaster rides over half a million thrillseekers annually