1958:08:24 career, PNE Gate designed and built by HArryPNE.

I mentioned that the PNE was on now. (Pacific National Exhibition)

That was a very busy time for us as we built some of the booths. One customer wanted a ceiling put in their booth. I got a bright idea that we could use pea vine , tacked all around the sides and gathered to the middle.

We went back out after supper, and took the boys with us.

They got pretty tired while we were trying to get the ceiling in there… so we drew up some chairs, covered them with newspaper and they went to sleep….while we struggled on. It wouldn’t drape like we  thought it should, so had to take it all down and come up with a better idea. I don’t remember what the better idea was.

Another customer was a furniture store. (Not the one that wouldn’t pay us!) We got burlap and had it dyed black and fire proofed. I cut it and sewed it together for a large drape. Our house looked like a barber shop after a full day of cutting hair! We draped the back of the fairly large booth. Mickey cut “frames” out of plywood,and even though they were flat, with some painting they looked three dimensional.

He wired large branches into the three frames…and I made large flowers from some kind of foam, and wired them onto the branches…some leaves, as well. They looked pretty good. It was a very attractive looking booth.

The first year we put the paintings in the PNE we were on our own. We were set up across from a food court, and they had an organist playing there. He got to know our favorite songs. He would look over and see that we were tired, and starting to sag a bit, so he would come on really loud with “our” song, and it helped to get through very tiring days.

The following two years we went as part of a group. MIckey had a broken leg during one of these sessions, so I had to do all the “bull” work.

Before this time, while the boys were around six or seven, we would take them to the PNE. I made sandwiches to take so we could save on food. They had a pretty good time, even though they didn’t get to ride on the train that took you around the areas.

One year we had ‘seen everything’ and were heading for the exit gates. Ra found five dollars on the ground, and was so excited… he paid for all of us to go on that train. What he didn’t know… his dad  dropped the fiver for him to find!

The PNE runs from the middle of August until Labour Day, and then School starts. For the exhibiters, it is a long stretch… we were there from before ten in the morning when the buildings opened to the public….until late in the evening. I’m not sure, but I think it was ten at night.

When I was a kid, the PNE booths would give out small boxes of their samples… that was fun to collect them and then we could play ‘store’.

The PNE parade used to go through the main part of down town Vancouver, ending up at the PNE grounds. Even that has been changed!

My husband designed the view that greeted patrons as they came to the main gate one year…., and quite a few of the booths.


4 thoughts on “PNE

  1. I remember when the food court use to give out samples. I think us kids would end up eating lunch with all of the samples (getting in lot of lines and sometimes more than once) as we didn’t have a lot of money either for extras. But like you always had what we needed

  2. I love your reminiscences. Imagining the scenes you describe stretches the mind and gives us a glimpse into an era now gone. None of what we all did back then would be allowed now.

    Kids cannot ride bikes without bunches of protective gear. Children sleeping in chairs at the exhibit building would have the child protective services in a snit. The only safety belt in a car was mom’s arm. It was a different universe entirely. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of it.

  3. Great story – and I guess the cat’s out of the bag now for Ra and the five dollars. 😀 Yup the PNE is firmly woven into the fabric of our collective West Coast minds…..good times! Oddly enough, I do not recall ever going with my parents. I do remember going to the parades with my dad though – just the two of us. 🙂

  4. I don’t remember when I attended the PNE for the first time or whether my folks ever took me. I imagine they did. My most vivid memories are of the PNE Parade, because I was in it during my mid-teens, twirling my baton and marching along, and also performing later on the PNE stage. We took our children a few times, making a day trip and back from the Island, and I had a couple of our Shelties in the Superdog event one year. We haven’t been there for many years, but it’s fun to reminisce.

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