Vancouver History: Vancouver Exhibition Forum

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The PNE Forum building at Hastings Park holds its share of history, from hockey and lacrosse, to war-time injustices, roller derby and Nirvana.


1931: Archives# CVA 99-4015. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

Vancouver Exhibition Forum

This 45,000 gross square foot building was constructed on the Vancouver Exhibition grounds in 1931.


1931: Construction of the Forum. Archives# CVA 99-3865 & CVA 99-3863. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

On January 21, 1935, Vancouver had a record 24-hour snowfall of 43 centimetres (17 inches). As a result, the roof of the Hastings Park Forum collapsed, luckily there were no injuries.


1936: Archives #Bu N521.3

When the Denman Arena, where the Vancouver Millionaires won the Stanley Cup in 1915, burned to the ground in 1936 the Vancouver Exhibition Forum at Hastings Park picked up where it left off. While it didn’t have 10,000+ seats like Denman, it had enough for 5,050 spectators for hockey and box lacrosse.


1935: Archives# CVA 99 – 3152. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

During WWII, the Forum served as a temporary relocation shelter for Japanese Canadians before they were sent to internment camps. Ottawa interned all BC residents of Japanese descent in the months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.


1942: Men’s dormitory. VPL# 14918. Photographer: Leonard Frank.

On September 25, 2013, Vancouver City Council offered a formal apology for the City of Vancouver’s Role in the 1942 Internment of Japanese-Canadians.


1948: VPL# 84106G & 84067B. Studio: Artray.

The Forum hosted the Pacific Coast Hockey League’s and Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks from 1945 to 1968. In 1969 The WHL Canucks moved to the newly-completed Pacific Coliseum which was located close by on the PNE grounds.



Bing Crosby, named Chief Thundervoice by the Chief Joe Mathias of the Squamish First Nation, hosted a radio show at the Forum in 1948. VPL# 80679 & 80679B. Photo: Art Jones.

The building was refurbished as a concert and exhibition space in the early 1980s. The hockey seating was removed to create more floor space and the ice plant was moved to the PNE Agrodome, located beside the Pacific Coliseum. The Forum still hosts concerts today along with PNE exhibits and trade shows.

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2 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. The Vancouver Charity Horse ShowSunday, April 27th, 2014 — 1:53pm PST

    It also hosted horse shows, namely the Vancouver International Horse Show in 1955. Arabians, American Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Hunter/jumpers mostly. We would love to see more vintage shots of horse shows there, and at the Agrodome!

  2. Margaret CrockerFriday, January 30th, 2015 — 7:34pm PST

    Stuart Thomson was my great uncle I have found a few of his photos that he sent to his sister when we cleared out my my mothers home

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