Playland's Corkscrew roller coaster has permanently closed

May 1 2019, 10:07 pm

One of the biggest ride attractions at Playland will not be open for thrill seekers when the gates to the amusement park reopen for the season this weekend.

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The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) says the Corkscrew roller coaster located at the northern edge of the Vancouver amusement park will not be in operation, as a decision has been made to dismantle and sell the popular ride — a longtime staple to Playland’s offerings.

The ride will remain stationary at its location, until it has been sold, disassembled, and relocated to its new owner.

While this may come as a disappointment for attendees to Playland and The Fair at the PNE, the closure is in pursuit of exciting new changes that are planned for Playland, PNE, and Hastings Park over the coming decade.

Playland’s size will be expanded by about 50% — from 15 acres to 22 acres — by pushing the amusement park’s footprint northwards towards the northeast corner of Hastings Park, an area that is currently used as parking.

“The geographical location from which the park will expand is through the current Corkscrew footprint,” Laura Ballance, a spokesperson for the PNE, told Daily Hive. “When the Playland redevelopment plan was completed in 2013, it was expected that the Corkscrew would retire and that this space would be used as a launching point for growth and the addition of new attractions.”

“The Corkscrew, while a fabulous mid-range coaster experience, was not contemplated to be part of Playland’s long-term attraction mix. Playland’s evolution is now under way and we have introduced four new family rides since 2017.”

Image: Pacific National Exhibition

Early preliminary concept of the new and expanded Playland amusement park at Vancouver’s Hastings Park. Click on the image for an expanded map. (PNE)

With construction possibly beginning in 2022 for a full completion by 2028, the new Playland will incorporate new extensively themed areas and a new wide range slate of rides and attractions.

Based on very early concepts for the expansion, the new rides could potentially include several new roller coasters, including a suspended family coaster, spinning coaster, gliding coaster, and a major launch coaster. Another significant ride attraction could also be a river rapid ride, with its theming doubling as an adventure course.

The iconic Wooden Coaster will remain, and the current area of Corkscrew will turn into a new driving track ride.

“While the Corkscrew holds sentimental value for staff and guests, it’s now time to make way for Playland’s expansion with new attractions and rides that will shape Playland’s bright future,” added Ballance.

According to Roller Coaster Database, Corkscrew first opened at Playland in 1994 and it has a track length of 2,400 ft, reaching 75 ft in height with drops of up to 68 ft, two inversions, and a maximum speed of 64 km/hr. The ride uses two trains with six cars per train, with riders arranged in two across in two rows for a total capacity of 24 riders per train.

It was originally manufactured in 1985 for the now-abandoned Boblo Island amusement park near Windsor, Ontario.

In 2003, Corkscrew was prominently featured in the Final Destination 3 horror movie.

Long-term gain seldom comes without some short-term pains.

Many rides at Playland have come and gone over its century-plus-long history at Hastings Park — including the Wild Mouse roller coaster in 2008 — and more changes should be expected as the amusement park’s revamp progresses forward.

The Playland renewal is a key component of the Hastings Park master plan approved by Vancouver City Council in 2010. It also includes a tripling of green space — from the current 27 acres to a total of 76 acres — while also providing the PNE with much-needed improved and expanded event and festival infrastructure, such as a possible complete rebuild of the 7,000-person capacity amphitheatre with a new roof covering and amenities and facilities.

Image: Pacific National Exhibition

2010-approved Hastings Park master plan. (City of Vancouver)

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