32 vintage photos from the Pacific National Exhibition

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The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) has been a Vancouver tradition for over a century. What we’ve all come to know as the PNE began in 1910 as the Industrial Exhibition, and the event that celebrates the best of British Columbia is what arguably defined Hastings Park.

Though there have been many significant changes to the landscape of the PNE over the years, our more recent history has brought a commitment to keep not only Hastings Park a beautiful gathering place, but the home of the great PNE.

Here’s a look back at some images from the first half of the PNE’s storied life.

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Streetcar arriving at the first Vancouver Exhibition via McGill Street, 1910. (James Luke Quiney/Vancouver Archives)

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Vancouver Exhibition at Hastings Park from outside the gates. 1910. (James Luke Quiney/Vancouver Archives)

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The Pacific National Exhibition’s (PNE) first wooden roller coaster, called Dip the Dips, was built 1914/15 at Hastings Park, and was replaced in 1925. This photo shows its construction in 1914, in Vancouver, BC Canada. (Photographer Dormer K Treffry via Heritage Vancouver Society/Flickr)

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BC Premier John Oliver eats an ice cream cone, 1916. (Dominion Photo Co./Vancouver Public Library)

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Pacific National Exhibition Dance Hall. April 14, 1923. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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Vancouver Exhibition opening August 1928. (Stuart Thomson/Vancouver Archives)

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Rooftop View West and South West from Pool Elevator No. 1, PNE. June 19, 1929. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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Exhibition Forum at the PNE. May 1, 1932. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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View From the Top of A Roller Coaster at the PNE. June 14, 1932. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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View of the PNE Buildings and Concessions at Night. August 25, 1933. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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Palace of Horticulture at the Pacific National Exhibition. August 25, 1933. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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View of the Pacific National Exhibition buildings – “Shoot the Chute” – roller coaster. October 4, 1934. (Leonard Frank/Vancouver Public Library)

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The Salt and Pepper ride at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park c.1936 (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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Chute the Chute ride at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park c.1936 (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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View of rides at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park, c.1936. (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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Children’s rides at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park, c.1936. (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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A bingo game at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park, c.1936. (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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Cars at the top of the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park, c.1936. (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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The Warden and Russell Big House sideshow at the Pacific National Exhibition midway at Hastings Park, c. 1936. (James Crookall/Vancouver Archives)

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Canadian Pacific Exhibition, B.C. poultry display, 1939. (Stuart Thomson/Vancouver Archives)

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Canadian Pacific Exhibition, group of women, 1939. (Stuart Thomson/Vancouver Archives)

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Vancouver Exhibition Association’s Plan of Hastings Park, 1944. (Don Coltman and Steffens Colmer/Vancouver Archives)

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PNE, Exhibition Park, children on merry-go-round. 1949. (Artray/Vancouver Public Library)

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Kwakiutl carver Ellen Neel and boys working on a totem pole 1952 (Vancouver Archives)

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PNE Fashion Show. August 1954. (Leon Holt-Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

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PNE midway. August 1954. (Leon Holt-Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

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Elvis fans held back during the star’s performance. August 31, 1957. (Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

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The PNE grounds. 1960. (Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

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The PNE Rodeo, 1960. (Mark Faviell/Flickr)

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Aerial view of Empire Stadium. October 1965 (David C. Paterson-Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

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Miss PNE Judy Collyer. August 31, 1966. (Province Newspaper/Vancouver Public Library)

Feature image: Crowds assembled at Hastings Park for the opening of the first Vancouver Exhibition. 1910. (James Luke Quiney/Vancouver Archives)

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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