Federal government provides PNE with $10 million for fairground upgrades

Sep 1 2022, 7:42 pm

Much-needed upgrades to the facilities and infrastructure of Hastings Park to support the Pacific National Exhibition’s entertainment operations are moving forward with the help of the federal government.

This week, federal agency Pacific Economic Development Canada announced it will provide the PNE with $10 million in infrastructure and facility investments to improve the major attraction.

This will go towards new PNE Fair entertainment infrastructure, lighting upgrades, facility improvements, and information technology upgrades. These various upgrades will also support the PNE’s future growth and sustainability with safety upgrades, energy-efficient equipment, and modernized operations.

The PNE is currently approaching the end of its 112th fair, and the first full-scale fair since the onset of the pandemic. It has indicated that it expects to regain and maintain over 4,000 jobs this year, with half of the employees under the age of 21 — providing important job opportunities for youth.

“The PNE is extremely grateful for these much-needed investments into facilities and infrastructure that make our business stronger, and in turn allow our organization to continue its historic role as BC’s largest ticketed event, the largest employer of youth and a key economic driver within the BC economy,” said Shelley Frost, the president and CEO of the PNE, in a statement.

“This fund was targeted to support large fairs, festivals and events across Canada and the PNE thanks our federal government for including us in the group so hard hit by COVID.”

Other major upgrades confirmed for the PNE over the coming years include a new $70 million, 10,000-spectator capacity amphitheatre with full weather protection. The initial schematic design is on target to be approved in November 2022, with construction expected to begin in 2024 for a completion in the first half of 2026 in time for that year’s PNE Fair.

Planning is also underway for a daylighted north-south stream just to the west of the amphitheatre — running from the lake towards New Brighton Park and Burrard Inlet. A planning consultant will be hired this month.

Prior to the pandemic, the PNE was also in the midst of planning a complete overhaul of Playland — a transformation of the amusement park into a theme park, and a footprint expansion of 50% to 22 acres. This project has been delayed due to the pandemic.

The PNE has also partnered with a grassroots initiative to bring back the historic Challenger Map to the fairgrounds as a permanent installation. The 6,000 sq ft, three-dimensional geographical map of British Columbia, made of nearly one million pieces of plywood, was previously housed at the PNE’s BC Pavilion from 1954 to 1997, until the building was demolished to make way for green space. After sitting in storage for decades, the Challenger Map is now being eyed for a permanent location inside the Livestock Building.

For the potential bid to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Committee is proposing to transform the PNE fairgrounds into an “Olympic Park” hub. Figure skating would return to the Pacific Coliseum, curling would be held at an upgraded Agrodome, skiing and snowboarding’s big air would be held at Hastings Racecourse, the new amphitheatre would be the site of the nightly medal ceremonies, and the fairgrounds would be turned into a live site with entertainment, pavilions, exhibitions, and activations.

The PNE is operated as a not-for-profit organization owned by the City of Vancouver. Up until the early 2000s, the PNE was owned by the provincial government, and operated as a crown corporation.

Want to stay in the loop with more Daily Hive content and News in your area? Check out all of our Newsletters here.
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ Listed
+ News
+ Urbanized