PNE and Playland Family Pass Giveaway

Comments 94 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Since before I could walk, I’ve been going to the Pacific National Exhibition with my family. I remember piling into the family van, driving for what seemed to be all morning, then taking the Hastings exit of Highway 1 past Empire Stadium and into the fair parking lots. Then, from my stroller, I would watch as my big brother and sister rode the rides that I was too small to enjoy.

Playland 1982

When the helicopter ride (which I thought simply went in circles) lifted itself off the ground I cried so hard that I was promptly returned to my stroller. I was only to be consoled with a warm, fresh, blueberry scone from the food pavilion.

Playland 1983

The log ride was a staple, as were the bumper cars and when I was older (err… taller) the Coaster was the ultimate rush. I rode the Super Big Gulp and dozens of other rides that have come and gone over the years.

Playland 1984

Our family would walk through the stables, get our Polaroids taken in front of green-screened combat equipment at the Armed Forces pavilion, and point out where we lived on the giant relief map of the province in the BC Pavilion. When we would return to the van after an action-packed day we’d have swag bags full of stickers, brochures, and our PNE buttons (which we made sure to collect every single year from guest services).

Of course my teenage years at Playland and the PNE with friends garnered different experiences. These involved ogling axe-swingers at the lumberjack competition or demolition derby, riding the Enterprise in a car all by yourself, playing mini golf like Happy Gilmore, and heading to the Petro-Can to get someone’s queasy stomach a dose of Pepto Bismol.

Each trip with friends, family, and familiar faces made for new memories, which at this point are endless. Now in its 99th year, the Fair at the PNE is offering up even more “free with admission” fun for all while celebrating 50 years of the old wooden (world famous) coaster.

Some PNE and Playland fast facts:

  • Playland is currently running a 2-for-1 promotion for ride passes on Tuesday after 3:00pm (valid until August 18th)
  • With a recent investment from the Government of Canada, the PNE can now offer over 800 “free with admission” shows, the most of any year in its history.
  • Included concerts feature Barney Bentall & the Legendary Hearts, April Wine, Randy Bachman, En Vogue, Rick Springfield, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, Chris Isaak, and more.
  • In order to help you create and pass on the joy of a day out at the PNE, I approached them to put together this contest. I’m giving away a family pack of tickets which includes 4 gate admission tickets along with 4 all-day ride passes for Playland.

    Photo credit: Keira-Anne on Flickr

    To enter to win the family pack, leave a comment below including one of your favourite PNE or Playland memories. If you can fit all of that into 140 characters, re-tweets will also be accepted. Alternatively, if you’ve never been, you can just explain why you would want to go. I’ll draw the winner on Friday August 21st. The winner will have 24 hours to confirm as the passes, and the Fair, will only be around from August 22nd until September 7th, 2009.

    Update: I drew the winner and it’s maria b – thanks to everyone for sharing some great memories and if you’re up for a tweetup or group day at Playland or the PNE, I’m in!

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler

    Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

    During our weekend visit to Whistler, we decided to walk over to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. John and I love feeding our brains, learning about different cultures and learning more about the history of the places we call home.

    The Squamish and Lil’wat Nations are two very distinct cultures that have always lived side by side. Whistler is actually situation in shared territory.

    “In 1997 the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) met with the Lil’wat Nation to consult about opportunities for the Nation’s participation and presence in Whistler BC. Out of these discussions, the idea of a world-class cultural centre was born and a relationship in the spirit of goodwill and cooperation evolved.

    Mindful of the historic precedence of shared lands and the overlapping interests in land stewardship, the Lil’wat Nation met with the Squamish Nation in 1999 to discuss land use and planning in areas of traditional territory overlap. As a result, in 2001 the two Nations signed a Protocol Agreement, which formalized our mutual relationship. This historic Protocol Agreement commits us to continued co-operation in matters of cultural and economic development, and co-management of shared territory.” [Tale of Two Nations]

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    The Cultural Centre is a gorgeous new building with traditional touches and features. At the start of our tour we watched a movie about the land and the people, which was beautifully made.

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    We were guided by our Ambassador through galleries, taught some amazing facts, and told several twists on ancient stories. We learned about things such as how you should only take two hand-widths of bark from a tree (so it doesn’t go into shock) when using it for weaving and how it took them 6-10 years to complete a wool blanket. The First Nations people were the ultimate masters in sustainability. They knew how to use the land, plants, and animals respectfully and so that they would be able to enjoy the resources for generations.

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    Making my Cedar bark bracelet Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    Outside the centre there is an underground pit house, a long house, and a forest walk. In the long house our Ambassador taught us how to make bracelets from Cedar bark and along the walk we learned about how various vegetation was used in everyday life.

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    On the top level of the centre is an impressive gallery with items for sale, such as works by Maynard Johnny Jr who did the gift boxes that were presented at the Juno Awards this year. Various other artists were showcased through their work with masks, paddles, paintings, and even snowboards.

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    We also learned that the reason why it took so long to make the impressive wool blankets, as our Ambassador explained, is that they collected wool from mountain goats that was caught on plant life or tree bark — they didn’t actually pull it right from the animal as they did not believe in harming it. They would also use hair from a special breed of dog for the wool. With each stitch and knitted loop they would also say a prayer or blessing. They have an impressive collection of items in their galleries including the blanket Chief Joe Capilano took all the way to England in 1906 when he met with King Edward VII.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Cultural Centre and have been wearing our hand-made Cedar bark bracelets ever since. It’s a small token of our time there but it packs a lot of meaning behind each twist of the bark. I’m a first generation Canadian and through the education, passion and thousands of years of heritage that these cultures take the time to share with us, I feel even more of a connection with my home and ever-more respectful of theirs.

    Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre

    Modern footprints like old

    There was so much to do in Whistler this weekend, from village shops and restaurants, to gondolas, hikes, bikes, and cheese rolling. However taking that quick stroll over to the Cultural Centre next to the river is definitely something I would recommend for others. On your way up to Whistler you may also want to consult the Cultural Journey map for points of interest along the way.


    The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is open daily from 9:30am – 5:00pm and is located at 4584 Blackcomb Way in Whistler, BC. The admission rate for adults is $18 although they do have an annual membership program, which would be your best value.

    Peak to Peak at Whistler Blackcomb

    Comments 6 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Today we crossed from Peak to Peak on the world’s highest lift of its kind, 1427ft above the valley floor. Starting out in Whistler Village we took the Village Gondola up to the Roundhouse. From there we could view the peak of Whistler, trails and runs.

    Village Gondola


    We hopped on the fairly new Peak to Peak gondola (admission included in our sightseeing pass) and rode a steel cable gondola line 2.73 miles (4.4km) over to Blackcomb.

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    The village and slopes were crazy-busy with Kokanee Crankworx action but up on the Peak to Peak we had an entire gondola car to ourselves. We saw some other passing cars where others were taking advantage of this — from couples making out to pre-teen boys dancing around & flexing their muscles without shirts on.

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    The ride was incredibly smooth and once we were on Blackcomb, we decided to do a small hike. The Alpine Walk seemed like the quickest as according to our trail maps it was 0.96 miles (1.6km) and would take 60 minutes. It actually took us about 15 minutes to get half way through but we were hauling it up the trail, which did have some rough parts over rocks and boulders.

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    Regardless, it was a nice little loop with scenic viewpoints perfect for photo ops. From the Fitzsimmons Lookout we could even look down on the Peak to Peak gondola line.

    Alpine Walk Alpine Walk

    Alpine Walk - View of Peak to Peak

    Alpine Walk

    Alpine Walk Alpine Walk

    Next time we visit we’re going to do a few more trails (perhaps the Overlord Trail) or one longer trail as we both enjoy a good hike.

    Peak to Peak - Whistler Blackcomb

    On the way back down I even spotted two bears from the Village Gondola (luckily nowhere near the mountain bikers). It was a great morning activity with John who did really well considering his fear of heights.

    BC Healthy Living Alliance Health Hunt

    Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This month the BC Healthy Living Alliance is hosting an online scavenger hunt to promote healthy living.

    On August 24th at 9:00am sharp, you will be able to download a Play Pack from the BCHLA website. It will contain contest rules along with a list of missions to be completed for a multimedia scavenger hunt. The missions each have “health points” that vary depending on the level of difficulty. On August 31st, all entries must be submitted online either in photo or video form with final written answers also entered online.

    The winner (it counts if you’re the quickest to submit all of your answers) will receive a $150 gift card or a donation of $150 to their charity of choice. All other players, regardless of their total “health points”, will be entered into a draw for a chance to win one of two $75 prizes (same deal, gift card or donation).

    You can find out more on the BCHLA website, their Facebook page, following @BCHealthyLiving on Twitter, or by including #HlthHunt in a Twitter update.

    The BC Healthy Living Alliance (BCHLA) is a group of organizations that have come together with a mission to improve the health of British Columbians through leadership that enhances collaborative action to promote physical activity, healthy eating and living smoke-free.