ThunderVolt New Playland Coaster Launching This Summer

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Playland Amusement Park will soon have Canada’s fastest electric launch coaster – the ThunderVolt, which is anticipated to open the first weekend in July.

the thundervolt at playland
PNE/Playland photo (from April construction update)

ThunderVolt New Playland Coaster

The ThunderVolt’s three-car train carries 12 passengers at a time with 1.3 G’s of acceleration through an illuminated tunnel, up a steep incline before an 18-metre drop. The ride, built by Zamperla of Italy will occupy the previous location of the retired Corkscrew coaster (1994-2018)

  • Total Track Length: 380 metres (1247 feet)
  • Maximum height: 18 metres (59 feet)
  • Train Length: 8.2 metres (27 feet)
  • Number of Trains: 1
  • Vehicles per Train: 3
  • Passengers per Train: 12
  • Launch Acceleration: 1.3 G

Playland Coasters Over the Years

I grew up in the age of the Super Big Gulp (1972 to 1994) and the Wild Mouse (1979 to 2008… I think I still have a bruise from that one). Over the last 100+ years, several coasters have thrilled fair-goers at the PNE and Playland, from the Corkscrew to Kettle Creek Mine, which has been your favourite?

Giant Dipper Coaster at the PNE Playland 1940 Vancouver Archives Photo
Giant Dipper Coaster at the PNE Playland 1940 Vancouver Archives Photo

The ride portion at the fair has held many names including “Happyland” before becoming “Playland” a few decades ago. There have been at least three iterations of a wooden coaster at the PNE including the Giant Dipper. According to Chuck Davis’ records, in 1927: “The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and his brother Prince George (later the Duke of Kent, and still later King George VI) visited Vancouver.” While here, “Edward tried out the Dipper one afternoon and liked it so well he returned in the evening.”

Located on the West side of the grounds, the Giant Dipper was demolished in 1948 to make room for an expanding Hastings Racecourse track. There was also a smaller coaster called the Baby Dipper, which was torn down in 1944.

Baby Dipper Coaster at the PNE Playland Vancouver Archives Photo
Baby Dipper Coaster at the PNE Playland Vancouver Archives Photo

When a new wooden coaster went up in 1958 (at the location you find it today) it was the largest in Canada. The coaster was built board by board back then, and it still reaches speeds of 45mph/72kmh and a height of 23m/75ft. It was designed by Carl E. Phare and was built by Walker LeRoy as a part of the vision for Playland and was named top wooden coaster in Canada (2019) and is ranked 7th in the world.

Find more memories in the Roller Coaster Database here.

Playland Roller Coaster
PNE/Playland Wooden Coaster – Submitted

About the PNE

Owned by the City of Vancouver, the PNE is a healthy and vibrant non-profit organization dedicated to delivering over 3 million visitors a year with memorable experiences through access to first-class cultural, music, sporting and family entertainment events, as well as access to public space for passive recreation. Founded in 1910, the PNE’s home is Hastings Park, a multi-facility venue in Vancouver where the organization manages four activity streams: the annual PNE Fair, Playland Amusement Park, Park Care and Facility Maintenance and an expansive portfolio of year-round events. All revenues generated are invested back into park space, community programs and non- revenue generating educational and entertainment experiences.

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