The Best Old PNE Photos 1914-1980

Comments 19 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The City of Vancouver Archives has digitized over 8,000 images from the Pacific National Exhibition (“PNE”) thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program. These images are easy to view, re-use, and share. Additionally, they have digitized another 874 images under copyright which can be viewed via the Archives.

Women on Sky Glider chair lift
1971: Women on the Sky Glider chair lift. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6891.

The Best Old PNE Photos 1914-1980

PNE photos are very popular as they capture summers of years past in Vancouver, family time, and childhood memories. The sights, the rides, the smells (either good from the concession or less than savoury from the barns), the shopping, the shows and many good times.

Here is just a sampling of the City of Vancouver Archives‘ efforts and hard work they put into sharing these images with us:

Loopo plane ride in midway carnival
1940: Loopo plane ride in midway carnival. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-0798.

Children on rollercoaster in P.N.E. Gayway
1952: Children on the coaster. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1794.


1936: Salt and Pepper ride. Archives# AM640-S1-: CVA 260-506.

Amusement park rides on P.N.E. Gayway grounds
1948: Amusement rides. Archives #AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1517.


1955: Ferris wheels. Archives# CVA 180-3880.

Women in bathing suits posing with a prize bull
1927: Women in bathing suits posing with a prize bull. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-0296.

B.C. Telephone Co. exhibit on how to use the dial telephone
1940: B.C. Telephone Co. exhibit on how to use the dial telephone. Archives #AM281-S8-: CVA 180-0876.

Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow Clown posing with ducks
(Left) 1940: Acrobatic performance in midway carnival sideshow. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-0794. (Right) 1952: Clown with ducks. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1776.

Miss P.N.E., Lynn Adcock, posing with clown at main gates to Exhibition Park
1959: Miss PNE and a clown. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2026.


1960s: Archives# AM1435-: CVA 1435-217.

Illuminated amusement rides in P.N.E. Playland at night
1961: PNE rides at night. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-3874.

Oddball oasis : [camel with lion-shaped fiberglass water fountain on P.N.E. grounds]
1965: Oddball oasis : Camel with lion-shaped fiberglass water fountain on P.N.E. grounds. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6041.


1963: PNE crowds near the BC Building. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6629.

Crowd outside of 1964 P.N.E. program grand prize house
1964: PNE Prize Home. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-3945.

Phyllis Diller with mannequin wearing Edwin Buzz Aldrin's Apollo 11 spacesuit in Pacific Coliseum display
1969: Phyllis Diller with Buzz Aldrin mannequin. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-4190.

B. Baddeley and J. Terry married by United Church Minister Rev. L. Dixon on P.N.E. Happyland Ferris wheel
1965. Married on the Happyland ferris wheel. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-3876.2.


1969: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.180.


1969: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.189.

1972: Main entrance gates. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6902.

Billingsgate Seafood Bar concession
1971: Billingsgate Seafood Bar concession. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6808

1970 P.N.E. Opening Day Parade
1970: Opening day parade. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-4294.12.


1970: Sky Glider chair lift on PNE grounds. Archives# CVA 180-4292.06.


1970s: View of the PNE. Archives# 2010-006.235.


1974: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.237.


1977: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.145.


1977 View from SkyRide. Archives# 2010-006.149.


1975: PNE crowds, East Vancouver houses in the background. Archives# AM281-S8-: CVA 180-7106.


1977: The Dog’s Ear souvenirs. Archives# CVA 180-7417.


(Left) 1979: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.125. (Right) Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.126.


1980: Archives# AM1551-S2-: 2010-006.133.


1971: Crowd watching All-Terrain Vehicles Show, with Sky Glider chair lift overhead. Archives# CVA 180-6879.

Follow the City of Vancouver Archives on Twitter and Facebook for more vintage photos and collections, news and events.

Related: History of the Wooden Coaster at the PNE, Challenger Relief Map of BC, Archive Photos of Amusement Park Rides.

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19 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Karen BourneThursday, January 15th, 2015 — 8:12pm PST

    Great photos! Our family moved to Vanouver from Powell River in 1963. I loved the PNE so much. still do. Great memories, great music, great fun.

  2. Karen BourneThursday, January 15th, 2015 — 8:13pm PST

    oh i forgot. the roller coaster was born in 1958 and so was i!

  3. cheryl kowalskiFriday, January 16th, 2015 — 10:50am PST

    loved the P.N.E I have my grade1 report card from the summer of 69 with my P.N.E Pass attached to it .was wondering if u need it for the archives .thank you

  4. John KellyFriday, January 16th, 2015 — 2:43pm PST

    Great pictures. Digital cameras have spent years playing catch-up against the quality of film.

  5. NeilaFriday, January 16th, 2015 — 6:17pm PST

    The lion water fountain is still there.

  6. ronFriday, January 16th, 2015 — 9:44pm PST

    These pictures are great, brought back so many memories ,going to the PNE to show my pony ,and taking in the midway attractions .

  7. Cheryl OlneySaturday, January 17th, 2015 — 9:52pm PST

    Awesome pictures, we lived a few blocks away I was there all the time I used to love the trial runs on the roller coaster and then playing the games, roller land was a blast every weekend. Thanks for the great memories.

  8. Doris CalvertSaturday, January 17th, 2015 — 10:18pm PST

    That roller coaster brings back so many memories! We use to drive up from Edmonton and one year I talked my mom into going on and she was so scared she dug her finger nails in her arm until she bled,haha!

  9. robert taylorSunday, January 18th, 2015 — 10:10am PST

    I remember loving the shoot the shoot or whatever it was called where the boat went down a long slide into the water! We’d get wet but loved it. That was 1948,49 and 50.

  10. AmandaSunday, January 18th, 2015 — 11:21am PST

    I would love for them to bring back the Sky Glider Chair lift or something similar, that looks so neat! I wasn’t born back then so I never even knew something like this existed! I love the views I get from the top of the rollercoasters, but your only at the top of the ride for a fraction of time. The Sky Glider would be an amazingly beautiful ride, too bad it no longer exists there!

  11. Maureen StrelauWednesday, January 21st, 2015 — 12:47pm PST

    My grandmother was born in Vancouver in 1906, she had 6 children (one of them being my mother) Going to the parade on opening day then going to the Fair after was a family tradition for us. My aunts and uncles and cousins and of course Grandma, would all gather on Hastings street in front of the Patricia Hotel and watch the parade. It was a very big deal for us, my mother even bought me a new outfit for the parade every year!

  12. Cheryl HarisWednesday, January 21st, 2015 — 8:35pm PST

    I miss the old PNE. I still go every year but these pictures bring back such great memories. The food building, Smash up derby, the large slide, the sky glider. Oh the memories! Brings a smile to my face

  13. Don HoffmanSaturday, January 31st, 2015 — 8:34am PST

    Wow,,,,, we used to ride that strange chairlift and get totally fried smoking the herb
    Then off to the concerts we would go

  14. John McBainMonday, May 16th, 2016 — 12:10pm PST

    The ride into the water on a boat was called the Shoot The Shute!

  15. IbbyThursday, May 19th, 2016 — 12:07am PST

    Thank you for showing these pictures.

  16. Ted GarbuttFriday, July 15th, 2016 — 6:30pm PST

    Loved the photos as they brought back many fond memories. I also worked at the PNE during the fair for three years. Bingo tent (2 yrs) and 1 yr in a coin toss game plus sleeping in the tent every night guarding the stuffed animals from being kidnapped.
    One morning I arrived early only to be greeted by a full grown chimp sitting on a table and wearing a red bellhop jacket. He left and a few minutes later two circus hands came looking for the escapee.

  17. M. WilliamsMonday, August 1st, 2016 — 2:56pm PST

    Can Trigger’s raised hoof print still be found on the PNE grounds?

  18. B. CallowaySaturday, August 6th, 2016 — 8:49pm PST

    Was wondering if anyone remembered the name of the ride that was listed as AM1551-S2:2010-006125.

    Appreciate any information.

  19. gina oviattSaturday, August 20th, 2016 — 10:00am PST

    The picture of the girls on the bull is my grandfather, Sam Bonsall, with his prize holstein bull.

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