Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vancouver's Fair - the 2009 PNE

I grew up in a small town where the "Fall Fair" was a big deal not only to a town kid like me but to all the surrounding farmers - ready for a trip to town to show off their prize-winning Clydesdales, Holsteins and let their 4-H farm kids parade the favourite calf or pony round the ring in front of judges and an appreciative grandstand.


I thought the 4-Hers were definitely quaint in their pressed white smocks but I was not so hip that I didn't enjoy perusing the quilts, handicrafts, pies, cakes, chickens and rabbits to see if the right one got the blue ribbon. Today, I still enjoy the livestock barns and a peek at the people who work very hard to grow our food and somehow make a living. A trip to the PNE is a reminder of a goggle-eyed youth taking in the sideshows, midway and the carney life. I probably saw my first tattoo on some greasy bad-ass ride-operator.

Photo courtesy of Heritage Vancouver

Times have changed and still they haven't. The PNE offers a whole summer of Playland excitement, rides and amusement. The 1958 wooden roller-coaster is one of the world's remaining classics for coaster afficianados. Only a few years ago, it was a threatened structure but money was found to restore it to its original glory for it's fiftieth anniversary in 2008. Over half a million thrill-seekers take the ride every year.

People go to the fair for the all too cute Superdogs show, for nightly live song and dance performances like Celtic Legends or the pyro-musical spectacular Kaboom. Then there is a roster of scheduled performances from the likes of Al Jarreau, Chris Isaak, En Vogue, Rick Springfield and Canadian rockers, Chilliwack.

Me? I also go to the fair for the mini-donuts, the super-mops and all the latest gadgets. But since it's a rare event, I might once again take in the world-famous equestrian event - the RCMP "Musical Ride".

Vancouver's Fair - 99 years young!

The fair at the Pacific National Exhibition opened under sunny skies on Saturday and runs until Sept. 7th. Vancouver is such a young and forward-looking city that the fair, founded in 1910, forms a major, end-of-summer tradition for generations of British Columbians.
Year-round, visitors enjoy the site at 114 acre Hastings Park for it's landscaped beauty, first-class horse racing and betting track and a variety of city-owned sports and cultural facilities. One of those facilities, Empire Stadium, now torn down, was the site of sporting history's 1954 "Miracle Mile". At the first sporting event of any type carried Live on North American television, England's Roger Bannister defeated Australia's John Landy but both men broke the 4 minute barrier for running the mile! For running enthusiasts, checkout this archival CBC film coverage and watch for Bannister's final spurt. An exciting race even by Usain Bolt standards!
And records may soon fall again at the PNE's Pacific Coliseum, the short-track speedskating venue at the 2010 Olympic Games.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What are we doing these days?

August has been flying by. It is traditionally the busiest B & B month of the year. Briana is back from a trip DownUnder and just in time to be thrown back into the hurly-burly. She has been baking up a storm just to keep up with tables of twelve!

Matthew has borne the weight of daily cooking, cleaning and a "million other things" this summer. As someone who only cooks breakfast on weekends and occasionally cleans, I send out a BIG Thank You to him! It takes heart to find the energy for innkeeping. As our guest, it will most likely be Matthew who answers your phone call or greets you at the door. He is the one who will worry over your dietary limits and be sure to present your breakfast beautifully and done just right.

Me? Well, yes, I do some bed & breakfast laundry, emails, shop, book-keep and make sure the bills get paid. That doesn't touch the other batch of bills and maintenance on the homefront. Then there is the care & rental of the Mexican vacation condo.

Lately, O'Neal & I have been focused on finding a brother or sister Cairn for Ozzie. Ozzie turned nine this week - a happy birthday was celebrated in the park. He is a vigourous dog and usually thought to be much younger. We decided that now is the time to adopt. We discovered a North American-wide Cairn Terrier Rescue Society that is doing wonderful work for dogs rescued from puppy-mills or given up by owners. The stories that we have heard are tragedies of greed, ignorance, neglect, cruelty, just bad luck and failing health.

Anyways, we have passed the screening and home visitation reviews and are now in the hands of a Cairn/human matchmaker. Wish us luck!