Vancouver’s Playland Amusement Park Getting $80-million Facelift

8202639344_6e065fc2b2_zVancouver’s famous Wooden Roller Coaster may be getting a little sprucing up.

Playland at the Pacific National Exhibition – the nearly century-old amusement park on the edge of downtown Vancouver – is about to begin an $80-million restoration project. The massive undertaking, set to start next fall and be completed over 13 years, will increase the size of the park by 50 percent, from 6 hectares to 9 hectares.

Playland and the PNE have a long, storied history in Vancouver. Hastings Park, home of Playland, was given to Vancouver by the province back in 1889.  The first annual PNE Fair took place way back in 1910.  Happyland, the precursor to Playland, opened in 1926.

Over the years, however, Playland has started to show its age.  Some of its signature rides, like the 1958 Wooden Roller Coaster and the 1960 Wave Swinger, are more than a half-century old, while many others, including the Scrambler, Pirate Ship, and Log Flume date from the 1980s.  The renovation plans call for modernizing rides while also “introducing a softer, more welcoming look and feel,” according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

8202640178_3df9e9ae1e_zThese changes are part of a master plan adopted in 2010 to transform the entire 63-hectare Hastings Park site in the years ahead.  The site includes not only Playland but also Hastings Racecourse, the Pacific Coliseum, the Agrodome and livestock barns and Empire Fields.  The $200-$300 million project aims to turn the park into a greener and more inviting year-round destination.

8202642472_861a2fd168_zChanges already made include expanded greenways, the new Creekway Park (a former parking lot restored to its natural state, with a long buried creek uncovered) and the new Plateau Sports Park, a complex of volleyball courts and other facilities at Empire Fields scheduled to open in November.

Other planned renovations at Playland include improvements to the livestock building and the amphitheatre, as well as upgrades to the main festival plaza.

8202652680_783590abb8_zBut here’s hoping that they leave the rickety old Wooden Roller Coaster – despite its banged up cars and herky-jerky turns – untouched.  Sometimes you can’t improve on a classic.

What changes do you think Playland should make? Let us know below. 

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