UP- ROLL UP
Summer in Vancouver at Playland and the PNE
Its not a case
of when or if pigs will fly at the Pacific National Exhibtion in
Vancouver this summer.
Roll up Roll up take a step back in time. Join the Carney, its back
in town. Guess the pigs weight, its rodeo time, meet sheep, goats,
cows and thrill to dogs jumping through hoops - their great 25th year.
Yes these are the dogs they used in the hilarious movie , 'Best in Show'
and this is where it was filmed. So you know these dogs really can do
Its not exactly Meet me in St Louis and Judy Garland
sports a midriff exposing a navel ring these days and probably makes eyes
at the girl next door, nevertheless, everyone comes to the fair. Its
a hokey, quaint event, some kind of relic, but innocent fun, fun the way
it used to be. Candyfloss, Elephants Ears, sticky toffee, things for the
kiddies and a swing band for the old folks
Come to the Marketplace. Buy magic mops, bargain chamois leather, sit
down and try Dr Hos vibration machine and massage away your problems.
(Actually I really did and Ive had this nagging headache for days
now). My sister actually bought a kit (including batteries) for $229 and
now uses it every day. She swears it will cure all her ills and , y'know,
Of course there are things that you probably shouldn't buy; shiny things,
watches for ten bucks, buy now -throw away later.
Get out of there already; head for the animals. It may not be your kind
of fun to watch breeding sheep being auctioned (they seem to go for around
$300 a pop) but its for real. Sadly, I couldnt stay for the
cows being auctioned, as one took it in its head to chase my sister around
the auction ring and she fled terrified. Suddenly you understand that
bullfighters are so incredibly utterly stupid!
In the ante-chamber you can find, well
lots more cows actually and
pigs, more sheep, the odd llama and bunny rabbits, its a domestic
zoo in there and lots of very dedicated kids nurture them with patience
(that they probably dont have for their parents or siblings). Every
year lambs and other babies are born at the PNE and it's all rather cute
Finding your way out, you past tractors; old ones and some new German
ones that my sister (ever observant to such things) noticed a kiddie seat
in the cabin. No kidding. Germans think of everything get
em young, eh.
We skirted past beer tents, hamburger stalls and psychics who will reveal
all (no fear not with my sister present) and headed for the House
of Dreams. Every year at the PNE they run a lottery for a dream home.
This years home, temporarily erected at the fair to be moved to
the sunshine coast thereafter, is impressive and pleasantly old fashioned.
Its a Victorian home replete with a cedar verandha all around it,
something I love about Victorian homes.
We joined a huge line-up and everyone in the line has paid for a $25 buck
ticket, so they are going to make a killing with this house. Its
got a pretty impractical staircase winding into the hallway, but that
aside, the living room is interesting, vaguely ornate with elegant ceiling
rebates and detailing. The kitchen is practical and really well fitted
out by The Brick, a local chain and although I dont like electric
room heating because it tends to dry the air, there are four
gas-fireplaces, one in the huge master bathroom. (Which is a first for
me). There are two huge Jacuzzis, three bedrooms and a big rec room above
the two-car garage. The exterior is finished in vinyl, which looks cheap
but lasts, so its practical, if lacking in aesthetics. The interesting
features are the rubber tiles on the roof, made from recycled tyres. They
really look like old style roof tiles and are good energy savers,with
low heat transfer. So they should be cool in summer- insulate in winter.
They look like slate but are resistant to moss with a 50 year warranty.
Interested? Go-Green Roofing Products Inc. No web site but if you are
interested email them at email@example.com. Sensibly they also fitted
the American style Englert leafguard guttering which should be mandatory
fitting in BC. It has taken how many centuries to evolve guttering to
eliminate leaf clogging? You can find them at www.leafguard.com.
Inside the floor tiles are jade natural slate from China from www.eurotile.ca
and the great thing is that all the fixtures and fitting come with the
house, so if you win, you can move in and dump the stuff you wish youd
never bought anyway.
So why go on about the house? Because actually its the most authentic
thing at the show, though they may not know it. A hundred years ago, around
when the PNE first started at this Hastings Site, the Victorians (or Edwardians
then) were busy perfecting the factory built house. They were supplied
all over the world, wherever instant towns were required. Every gold rush
would sport them and if you go to Silver City, Nevada, they still stand
today. Complete mansions in tin with wooden floors, tiling, wallpaper,
everything prefabricated and shipped out to Kimberley or Nevada or Alaska
and they survived. So here at the PNE, the prefabricated home is being
reinvented by Britco. Good styling, durable materials, (even a dog shower)
built in vacuum system and security, everything you could ever want in
a home and it will just last forever. Built in seven sections and transported
to the show where it was reassembled, it will eventually wind up on a
half acre lot by a harbour. The prices range from $400,000 to $600,000
cnd. If you want a home in the Pacific-Northwest that will certainly outlast
the conventionally built houses, contact them for info www.britco.com
Did I buy a ticket? You bet. Will I win? Yeah right.
The PNE is old fashioned, to be sure, with talent contests, odd foods,
the roller coasters next door at Playland, dog jumping and Lipizanner
dancing horses, but its the nearest you can get to being in the
late 19th century and as such, long may the sheep be auctioned and sisters
get chased by cows. Long live the PNE.
yes the Lipizzaners
are here at the PNE
Open till September 2nd 2002.
Getting there: On Hastings and Renfrew. It also includes Playland where
kids can thrill to the roller coasters and assorted dangers. Take the
Hastings Bus or 29th Avenue or 135 SFU from Downtown Vancouver.
Cost $8 dollars a bargain.
Sponsors The Province newspaper
(This was written in 2002 - This year 2003 Mad Cow Disease
may affect the animal attractions and SARS everything else - but here's
hoping everything will be back to normal soon - eh?)
© The Editor August 2002
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