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Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition

Pacific National Exhibition

The Pacific National Exhibition, or PNE, has been an annual Vancouver fair for over 100 years. It has rides, shows, farm animals, midway games and concerts.

In 2022 the PNE Winter Fair runs from December 14th until the 23rd. It features beautiful Christmas lights, holiday decorations and a range of live entertainment.

Lots of other events also take place at the PNE at other times of the year, including Playland. For a list of what’s happening and when throughout the year, click Vancouver Events at the PNE. To learn about the fair at the end of the summer though, see below or visit the pne.ca website.


This article contains details about the following:

General PNE Information | Admission | Ways to Save | Summer Concerts | 2022 Concerts | Special Features | PNE Rides | PNE Ride Tips | PNE Prize Home | General Tips & Advice | PNE Video | PNE at Christmas | Other Information

Click on any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about the Pacific National Exhibition.


PNE Winter Fair in Vancouver


Vancouver’s PNE Fair in 2022

Taking place the last three weeks of the summer and finishing on the Labour Day Long Weekend (most years at least), the PNE is when Vancouver’s Playland turns into a first-class fair. In 2022 the fair ran most days from August 20th until September 5th.

The PNE has all of Playland‘s usual midway and various amusement rides. What’s more though are all the tantalizing food stalls, the live entertainment and the excitement of a carnival.

In 2021 the PNE Fair happened as a live, in-person event. You didn’t have to stay in your car to see things, unlike in 2020! It wasn’t as big an event as in non-pandemic years, but it was still tons of fun! In 2022 the fair was similar to what it was prior to the pandemic. However, tickets for each day were still limited like they were in 2021. This meant there was more space for guests and shorter lines for rides.

If you’ve never been to the Pacific National Exhibition, or you haven’t been for many years, you should go! It’s a Vancouver tradition. You’ll have a great time!


For full details about the PNE Fair see the official PNE.ca website.


Carnival Rides at the PNE
Playland at the PNE


Admission to the PNE

Admission to the fair for 2022 was $20 at the gate for visitors ages 19-64. Seniors and folks ages 13-18 cost $14. Passes at the gate for children ages 4-12 cost $7 at the gate. It was also free for children ages 3 and under.

Playland Fair Ride passes for all-day access to the amusement rides were about $50 for most folks in 2022. There was also a secondary pass option at $39 for people shorter than 48 inches tall or those less interested in the bigger rides.


Playland at the PNE


Ways to Save at the PNE

In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, there are several ways to save money at the PNE. They include going on special discounted days, saving with partner memberships, buying your tickets in advance, and other ways.


Ways to Save at the PNE in 2022

In 2022, admission tickets purchased online in advance were $2 cheaper than what they cost at the gate. Ride passes were $5 cheaper when purchased online!

There were other ways to save as well. Members of the BC Automobile Association (BCAA) received a 30% discount on both general admission and ride passes.

In addition, on Fridays (August 26th and September 2nd, 2022), if you showed proof that you took public transit to the fair you got 2-for-1 admission! This deal was only available at the gate to the first 5,000 guests that showed their Compass product or proof of fare.


Chicago Band on Stage
Chicago at the PNE


PNE Summer Night Concerts

Most years, the PNE hosts live outdoor concerts by rock bands of yesteryear, as well as the occasional country and rock groups still big in the present day.

There weren’t any concerts in 2020 because of COVID-19, and the 2021 music lineup was smaller-scale without any massive headliners. In 2019 bands included Blue Rodeo, Burton Cummings, Colin James, Billy Idol, the Beach Boys and other famous groups.

To find out who performed in 2022, continue reading.


Click PNE Summer Concerts for more details!


Nicolas Reyes from the Gypsy Kings
Nicolas Reyes from the Gypsy Kings at the PNE


Live Music in 2022

PNE Summer Night Concerts in 2022 were held on the GMC Stage in the PNE Amphitheatre. The concerts started at 8:30 pm and ran on most days during the fair. Unlike in previous years, all concerts in the series were paid events. General admission to the fair was also required.

The lineup of PNE Summer Night Concerts in 2022 was as follows:

  • Saturday, August 20, 2022 – The B-52s Farewell Tour
  • Sunday, August 21, 2022 – Blue Rodeo
  • Tuesday, August 23, 2022 – Barenaked Ladies and Kim Mitchell
  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 – CAKE
  • Thursday, August 25, 2022 – Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
  • Friday, August 26, 2022 – Stars of Drag
  • Saturday, August 27, 2022 – Gipsy Kings Feat. Nicolas Reyes
  • Sunday, August 28, 2022 – Chicago
  • Tuesday, August 30, 2022 – Steve Miller Band
  • Wednesday, August 31, 2022 – TLC & Shaggy
  • Thursday, September 1, 2022 – Brothers Osborne
  • Friday, September 2, 2022 – Nelly
  • Saturday, September 3, 2022 – BACHMAN CUMMINGS
  • Sunday, September 4, 2022 – The Beach Boys
  • Monday, September 5, 2022 – Chaka Khan & Patti LaBelle


Click PNE Summer Concerts for more details!


The Band Groove & Tonic
Groove & Tonic at the PNE


Special PNE Features

In 2022 the PNE featured some of the fair’s traditional exhibits including its free SuperDogs shows, farm displays and the vendor marketplace.

PNE attractions for 2022 included the following:

  • Agriculture Displays – as always a small farm was put together in the fair’s Livestock Barns, which gave people the chance to learn about the different animals and equipment in an interactive way.
  • Blue’s Dance Party – children could enjoy singing and dancing with Blue the Bear and his friends at the Toon City Stage.
  • The Challenger Map – a section of the BC Relief Map handcrafted by the Challenger family returned in 2022!
  • Dinosaurs Around the World – an outdoor exhibit where you could learn about the geological history of the earth through the eyes of several large dinosaur models.
  • Family Flix – at 7:30 pm every night you could have watched a movie on a large outdoor screen in the Toon City zone.
  • For the Love of Drag – various “queens” performed favourite Pop songs in full drag.
  • The Flying Fools – fearless divers put on an exciting show at 2:00, 3:30 and 7:00 pm every day.
  • Marketplace – one of the traditional PNE features, there were over 200 exhibitors to explore and a wide variety of products on offer.
  • Pyro-Musical Finales – the skies illuminated with rockets, explosions and high-voltage power along with live performers at 9:15 and 10:15 every night.
  • Cooking Stage – live daily culinary demonstrations in the Rollerland Building with a focus on local chefs and ingredients.
  • The SuperDogs – one of the most popular attractions every year, these highly talented dogs wowed crowds with their tricks multiple times a day.


Superdogs Ninja Dog
SuperDogs at the PNE


PNE Amusement Rides

The PNE features close to three dozen amusement rides. Some are for kids and others only for extreme thrill-seekers. Many of the rides spin, some drop and others just go around and around.


PNE Amusement Ride Prices

For a list of some of the rides at the PNE, and descriptions of each, see our article about Playland Rides.

At Playland, in a typical year, people buy a day pass and can enjoy the rides all day. During the PNE, on the other hand, some people buy day passes for the rides, some folks just buy tickets for individual rides, and some people don’t go on the rides at all – they enjoy all the other activities instead.

During the PNE most years, ride ticket coupons usually cost less than $2 each. Each ride then takes a varying number of tickets.

In 2022, all-day ride passes cost $50 at the gate for individuals who wanted access to all the available rides during the PNE. Some of them were restricted to individuals at least 4 feet tall (i.e., 120 cm). For the younger ones or those who weren’t interested in the bigger rides, there was also a “Fun Pass” that cost $39 and granted access to just a select number of family-friendly rides.

Below we categorize the different rides usually operating at the PNE. Every person is different though, so what’s a tame ride for some can be terrifying for others. It all depends on your comfort with heights, drops, speed and spins.


Rides at Playland and the PNE


PNE Kids Rides

PNE rides for little kids in a typical year include Balloon Explorers, Bug Whirled, Cool Cruzers, Choppers, Cap’n KC, Dizzy Drop, The Flutterbye, Honeybee Express, Merry-Go-Round, Teacups and the Super Slide. All of these rides are pretty tame.

There are also amusement rides that are good for almost everyone, like the Ferris Wheel, Wave Swinger and Rock-n-Cars (i.e., bumper cars).

Most of the above attractions require riders to be at least 3 feet tall, although, with a few, smaller children can still ride with a parent. With a couple of the rides there is a maximum height restriction of 5 feet, and, with a few others, smaller children taller than 36 inches still have to ride with an adult.


The PNE Fair in 2022


Medium-Level Rides at the PNE

Medium-level rides at the PNE include the Alien Abduction, Kettle Creek Mine Coaster, Octopus, Scrambler and Tilt-A-Whirl. Unless you suffer from motion sickness, most of these rides are pretty fun and not too over the top. Another popular ride is the Flume, which is a log chute-style ride where you get wet at the end.

Some people also consider the Pirate Ship a medium-level ride, although it’s definitely on the more extreme end of this category’s spectrum. We list Kettle Creek Mine Coaster above as medium-level, but on the other hand, it is also arguably at the high edge of the little kid range.


Wooden Roller Coaster at PNE Playland
The PNE’s Wooden Roller Coaster


Serious PNE Rides

Some of the more serious rides at the PNE include the Atmosfear, Breakdance, the Crazy Beach Party, Gladiator and Music Express. They all rip around pretty fast! The Wooden Roller Coaster is also a serious ride when it is available.

The most serious rides at the PNE are, arguably, the Beast, Enterprise, Hell’s Gate and Hellevator. They are all pretty impressive!

The other two most extreme rides at the fair are the Drop Zone and Revelation, both of which cost extra. With the former, you are shot up into the air bungee-style, and with the other, you are spun around and around from ground level way up into the sky.

For more information about the various rides click Playland Rides Descriptions.


Flags and Roller Coaster at the PNE


PNE Ride Tips

Below are some tips and advice to help you enjoy your PNE rides as much as possible.

TIP #1: If you don’t want to get wet, don’t go on the Flume. If it’s a hot sunny day though, and you do want to cool down, then head to the Flume early before the lineup gets really long. It’s an especially popular ride when the weather is hot.

TIP #2: For folks who don’t like spinning around and getting dizzy, some of the rides you’ll want to avoid include the Tilt-A-Whirl, Octopus, Breakdance, Gladiator, Scrambler and possibly even the Tea Cups.

TIP #3: If you’ve never been on a roller coaster and want to test one out, go on the Kettle Creek Mine Coaster first. It’s fun and a little crazy, but nothing too extreme.

TIP #4: In our opinion, the ride most likely to give you a heart attack is the Hellevator, followed by the Wooden Roller Coaster in years when it’s available. Rides most likely to make you queasy are the Enterprise, Revelation, Hell’s Gate, Octopus and Crazy Beach Party. Everyone is different though, so actual results may vary!

TIP #5: If you have neck or back problems, stick to the tamest rides (like the Ferris Wheel) and don’t even think about going on the roller coaster or even the bumper cars.

TIP #6: Proper footwear is required on some rides. For example, flip-flops and slip-on shoes are not allowed on the Beast or Hell’s Gate.


PNE Lottery Prize Home
PNE Prize Home from a Past Year


PNE Prize Home Lottery

Every summer the PNE has a lottery where ticket purchasers can win a dream home as well as other valuable prizes. The PNE Prize Home is usually built on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition and during the PNE Fair in the summer people can go inside and look around.

Most years, after the fair ends and the lucky ticket is drawn, the house is moved to another location, usually outside the Lower Mainland. In 2021, however, the house was built and could be viewed at its permanent address. This was the case again in 2022, as tours were available in Langley on select weekends in June and July. Despite that, there was still a display on-site at the fair that you could have visited for a taste of what the main prize home was like.

In addition to the house, other prizes in the lottery typically include cars, vacations and cash.

To learn more about the lottery see our article about the PNE Prize Home Lottery.


2021 PNE Prize Home
2021 PNE Prize Home in Surrey


General Tips and Advice

Here are some more tips and suggestions on how to make the most out of your experience at the PNE:

TIP #1: You don’t have to go on rides to enjoy the PNE – you can easily spend the whole day just taking in the sights and entertainment. If you just want the rides, then you can go to Playland when the PNE isn’t taking place. Go in May, June, July, early August or late September.

TIP #2: If you don’t like crowds, then the Pacific National Exhibition might not be the best place to go as it is such a popular place. Good times to avoid the masses though include rainy days and in the evenings from about 7:30 until 9:30 while everyone is at the concerts.


PNE Video

For a look at some of the many great things to see and do at the Pacific National Exhibition, check out the video below.



PNE Christmas and Other Winter Events

The PNE is most famous for its end-of-summer Fair and Playland rides. The place hosts major events at other times of the year too though, including at Christmas. A couple of years ago it was the host venue for the Aurora Winter Festival. It hosted the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival before that. In 2021 the Pacific National Exhibition held the PNE WinterLights drive-thru event.

In 2022 the venue hosts the PNE Winter Fair. The Christmas-themed event runs daily from December 14th to the 23rd. At the event people can enjoy holiday illuminations, festive food, an outdoor market, ice skating and live entertainment.

Admission to the PNE Winter Fair in 2022 costs between $12 and $17 depending on your age and when you buy your tickets.

To learn more see our article about the PNE Winter Fair or visit the PNE’s Official Website.


PNE WinterLights Swans Light Sculpture
Swans Light Sculpture in 2020


Other Information

In 2022 529,772 people attended the PNE Fair in the summer. This compares with 730,000 which was the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about Playland and the PNE, check out the following:

For information on the PNE in October, click PNE Fright Nights at Halloween.

Other articles that may be of interest include the following: