I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Monday, September 6, 2010


I haven't been to the PNE for over 14 years, I found out today. I knew it had been a while but didn't realize it had been that long.

Linda, my Props Master friend from work texted me to see if I wanted to go on Sunday. I did. I wanted to go the weekend before but couldn't find anyone to go with me.

We get there early, the gates open at 11:00, and had a fun day tromping all around the place eating fair food - yay Those Little Doughnuts; giving the 'deep fried butter' a wide berth - YUK!! We tried the deep fried Oreos though. Meh. We poured over the many booths of goods for sale in 'The Marketplace' building. We went through the animal barns just to see the horses - Linda's a horse nut - and watched the Clydesdale show. We went through the show home that will eventually be located in Kelowna. I didn't buy tickets for it - I haven't ever gone to the PNE and not bought tickets for it before but having never won I decided not to bother. We skipped the rides, although I would have gone on the roller coasters if Linda wasn't such a chicken. We stopped to listen to a US Marine band play - they were excellent, and we watched the little parade the grounds put on; the theme this year was 100 years of celebration - Paint the Town! It was really well done; music was great, dancers were cute and the costumes were very well done.


Note to self: never buy a black chandelier. This one was partially black and all those crystals showed the dust like you wouldn't believe.


I had no idea they were showcasing people in the animal section now! I guess they're pretty good specimens judging by the ribbons on the stall.

One of the reasons I haven't been to the PNE for ages was that they took down several of the exhibit buildings years ago and replaced them with green space. I always thought that was the stupidest thing... it's an amusement park, not a park park. There was a great building they called The B.C. Building that had a huge relief map of the province that you looked down on from the story above and the rest of the building housed things of historical interest to the province. There was another building that showcased all the entries for the various categories of hand made or home grown goods. I loved that building. There were always amazingly crafted items - knit, sewn, stitched, painted, carved, embellished, iced (fabulous cakes), and baked. There were flower arrangements, vegetables, fruit... you name it. Now there's none of that at all. I didn't go to the PNE for years as a silent protest to the changes that putting in the green space wrought to the experience of going there.

So I surprised myself when I suggested to Linda that we take the tour of 'The Sanctuary' that was now in it's place. It seemed like a good idea to get away from the growing press of bodies in the main areas. There was a wonderful older British woman giving the tour, and she stopped at each different bush and tree, telling us what they were and how their berries or wood was used, both now and in the past. There is a natural stream that runs through the property that was taken underground in pipes for many decades. It has been 'daylighted' by the changes and now there's a large pond that is surrounded by reeds and is home to many ducks and migratory birds. There's even a turtle who lives there - probably relocated by a previous owner who no longer wanted a pet turtle. It is a lovely park and I was almost converted to believing that creating it there was a good idea. Until I remembered the crafts building and the hours I used to spend pouring over the entries and how inspired I felt when I left. There's a lot of park space in Vancouver. I don't think they needed to turn the one Fairground we have into another park. And it seems the environmentalists aren't satisfied with just part of the grounds as a park. They want the whole thing to be turned into a park and the PNE will be no more.

I hope that never happens.

(My first memory of the PNE is the summer after we arrived in Canada from England, so 1966, my mother had saved up Kool-Aid packets that could be traded in for ride tickets. We were in our first-ever car, a red and white 1952 Ford Fairlane, and my dad got pulled over for running a red light. When the police man came to the car window and asked my dad for his license, my sister and I - in the back seat - burst into hysterical tears. I thought he was off to jail. It was soon all sorted and we were finally at the PNE. All I recall of it is it being night and the many bright colored lights from the rides; and an uncle and aunt who were even fresher 'off the boat', house sitting for us - mom thought they'd enjoy watching TV as they didn't have one yet - and they being furious with us when we got home because they thought the invite was to come with us to the amusement park [not sure why that little misunderstanding didn't come up before we drove off].)

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