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Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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- The event was recommended to me on a previous visit to Vancouver so I looked at reviews and decided the beach would be too busy to see the Fireworks easily and booked the YVR Observation Deck. The fireworks were great, but the seats were a waste of time. They were badly signposted so it took us 20 minutes to find the entrance despite looking online before hand for details. There were facilities provided which I wasn't made aware either of so one of our party diverted to the toilet and because he then arrived with only 5 minutes to spare was refused entry! $50 down the drain, literally! He watched from the beach and had an excellent view while we were squashed into hard uncomfortable seats with the same view. Go for the fireworks and watch for free from the beaches.Written 30 August 2019This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- This would be another one of those Vancouver attractions where I was apparently out to lunch . . . or on another planet. Why? Well, the Vancouver Christmas Market has been running continuously – less 2020 – since 1990, yet I only became aware of it this year. Again, where the heck have I been? As someone who enjoys German cuisine, you’d think I’d be in the know . . . but no. Maybe I’m just too much of a Grinch and didn’t take notice? Yes, that must be it.
In any event, we attended the Christmas Market on a clear but cool Saturday. Our designated entry time was 4:30PM, so we dutifully lined up at Jack Poole Plaza and awaited our turn. Despite the rather lengthy line to get in, the whole process didn’t take very long – maybe 10 minutes? Because this is an outdoor event, the COVID protocols are fairly lax. Proof of double vaccination was required for entry, but masks and physical distancing weren’t required (we chose to keep masks on). As such, I’ll agree with most of the recent reviews: The space was a little crowded; there were long lines for vendors of trinkets and food; physically distancing was virtually non-existent; however, it did seem like most were wearing masks. Still, with omicron running rampant, this was probably a risky endeavour . . . albeit a delicious one!
With over 80 vendors offering authentic German eats and treasures, there’s definitely a little something for everyone. Most of the crafts on offer were a bit pricey for what they were, but we did buy a mini clay sculpting set featuring a little piggy wiggy. We also didn’t want to leave with empty stomachs. Haxen Haus was a calling. Who in their right mind could say no to a pork hock, roasted until it’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside? These were utterly divine and represented the clear highlight for us.
As we sat in the dining tent, enjoying our crispy pork goodness, we couldn’t help but admire what the Christmas Market was able to do: Despite a Greek alphabet letter running rampant, people were still able to enjoy one another’s company, eat delicious European food and share a wee bit of holiday cheer.
Please note that the Christmas Market typically runs for a period of 5 weeks between November and December (though it was extended an extra week this year – probably to make up for last year’s absence!).Written 25 December 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- I find it kind of curious that “The Fair” still has its own listing on TripAdvisor despite the fact that it and the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) are one and the same. I even reported this as a “duplicate entry” a number of months back, but it’s still here. C’est la vie, I suppose! Oh well. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been able to catch up on my reviews and have started running a little thin on subjects; thus, “The Fair” is fair game and gives me an opportunity to reflect on this past year’s event.
I’ve been attending The Fair at the PNE (or just “PNE”) almost religiously since the early 1980s up to the current day. Over the last 30 years, I’ve only missed about 5 sessions. Many publications write that “The Fair” is the “best part of summer” and is something that most in the Greater Vancouver Area, and indeed the Province, eagerly anticipate each year. I can certainly attest to that. Even today, the PNE is something I look forward to patronizing in the waning days of summer. The only change – for me – is my reason for attending.
When I was little, the big attraction at The Fair was the various amusement rides at Playland. I have many a fond memory of standing in the lengthy lines anxiously awaiting my turn to ride the Ferris wheel, Choppers, Bumper Cars and the Super Slide. There was even a small kiddie roller-coaster in the general shape of a dragon, which I preferred to the PNE’s famous wooden roller-coaster (a ride I still have yet to go on). After having my fill of the rides, the Midway games entertained me for many an hour. It was a lot of fun spending oodles of cash for prizes worth a mere fraction of what had been spent. I remember playing in the Midway circa 1990. The ring toss game featured a rubber Spider-Man and rubber Batman (the 1960s TV show version) as the top prize. I spent so much trying to win them and even begged my mom for extra money to try again (“no” was the answer). Sad! When I attended The Fair the very next year, I returned to the ring toss in hopes of seeing the superheroes again, but no dice! Later, around 1996 or so, I spent a small fortune in order to win this strange camel stuffie. On this occasion at least I was successful! It wasn’t all fun and games, though. One scene, in particular, is burned in my memory. I was about 4 years old and had decided to try my hand at Playland’s “glass maze.” After wandering around in said maze for a bit, I thought I’d found my way out and so went running towards the “exit” only to smash face-first into the glass! I bloodied my nose and cried my little head off, but the good news is I didn’t break anything!
As time progressed, I was still interested in the rides, but naturally shifted more to the thrilling set; thus, the classic Octopus, Pirate Ship, Log Ride and Hellavator were favoured over, say, the Ferris wheel. The Hellavator, in particular, is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping and maybe even cure that fear of heights! Yet, during this period (let’s say from about 1999 to 2010), those same rides took up significantly less time; that is to say, they were note the sole purpose of attending The Fair/Playland. Instead, it became more about the delicious bad food and free attractions. I mean, who could possibly resist Those Little Donuts, Curry in a Hurry, or the PNE Foot Long? Then, there are the SuperDogs and the energetic Summer Night Concerts. Seeing Culture Club, the Village People and the Bacon Brothers is pretty epic!
The Fair at the PNE has been around since 1910 and it has obviously changed a lot in that time. Heck, it’s changed a lot in the 30 years I’ve been attending. Since I’ve been going, I’ve seen “elephant ears” transform into “beaver tails”; I’ve seen Garfield fade away and get replaced by a generic Bear wearing a PNE hat; Garfield’s “footprints” were replaced in the early 2000s with dino footprints (though if you look closely, you can still sometimes see light outlines of Garfield’s); I’ve seen the Sandcastles competition vanish (boo!); the nightly fireworks and parade disappear; the Telus-sponsored “internet café” building come and go (back in 1999 when the Internet was really taking off); the BINGO gaming tent has gone; and “Big Bob” the giant cow has gone away presumably into retirement. But I know that this change signifies the passage of time, and if the Fair has done anything well it’s evolve: Many of our old favourites remain, but things have also modified with changing tastes. For example, this last year saw nearly 10% of food booths focus on plant-based vegan and vegetarian options. Who would’ve thought you’d see that at The Fair?
It’s unfortunate that, because of current world events, the 2020 season will likely be cancelled. Where will I get my mini donuts? My free night concerts? My opportunity to win a prize home? Well, I’d rather wait for things to be safe and enjoy these things at a later date. And you should, too. The Fair is, after all, a summer tradition!Written 1 May 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.