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Stepping back in time – to the beloved PNE

How I loved the PNE. Do you remember how great it was?

The PNE/Playland-Do you remember how great it was?

Do you remember that feeling, on the last day of elementary school, as we all sat at our desks waiting for that mystical manila envelope that contained our end-of-the-year report card? I sure can. I didn’t love school but I really loved the last day before the summer break. This was the moment we all waited for. I could care less about my marks. I actually loved reading the comments from my teachers much more. I terrorized many of them with endless talking and zero attention span. Most comments went like this…”Shannon needs to talk a little less frequently to her classmates but overall she is quite funny and bright.” Hilarious. My current report card would say the same thing, I am sure. If my marks were A’s or B’s, it didn’t really matter. All I wanted was that little ticket in the envelope. Do you remember the one that said “Free entry to Playland?” It was all we would talk about while the teacher handed out the reports. It meant you were almost always going to be heading to Playland or the PNE at least once that summer. That alone was worth the whole year of sitting in public school!

roller coaster ride
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The Wooden Rollercoaster

I grew up in Vancouver, BC and we only lived a few blocks from the PNE so we started planning as soon as we got home with our magic tickets. My brother was a few years behind me but even the younger children got them too. We stuck those precious pieces of paper on the fridge with a magnet so we would not lose them. If you don’t know what Playland or the PNE is, let me explain. PNE stands for Pacific National Exhibition. It was, to me (and many other kids my age) like going on a huge trip to Disneyland. The PNE was officially opened in 1910 by our Prime Minister at the time, Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a way to showcase BC to the rest of Canada. Playland amusement park (originally called “Happy Land”) was located on the PNE site until 1958. It has since moved to Hastings and the Pacific Coliseum was built in it’s place. The original wooden rollercoaster was built in 1958 and remains a treasure of Playland. It is ranked 7th top wooden coaster in Canada. The top speed of this old rickety, all wood coaster is 45mph! No thank you! I always stuck to the kiddie rides (I still do). To be honest, the rides were not my favorite part of going to the PNE.

little girl holding a cotton candy
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Cotton Candy

Being with my friends and family and eating as much sugary junk as I could stuff in my face was my favorite. Cotton candy vendors had my attention immediately. The sight of a vendor wrapping all of that sweet floss onto the paper cone gets me excited even today. If grandma was with us, things were a bit different. She always managed to pack some sort of sandwich in her bag (most likely egg salad). That was not my favorite part of visiting the park. I loved my grandma but the hotdog stand was always going to get my attention before an egg sandwich would. My brother and I would sneak off with our handful of money and grab ice cream if we could. It was always hard to sneak treats in front of grandma. It wasn’t that she didn’t want us to partake in a big helping of junk food, it was that she was as cheap as a dollar store spatula. Unless we had some cash in our pocket, we were eating egg salad sandwiches. I digress.

close up shot of eggs on a net container
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Eggs…more than just for sandwiches!

When you first arrived through the gates of the PNE, the thing that hit you the most was the fact that it was finally summer. It was a time to hang out with friends, to experience great food and fun rides and to just be a kid. It was a highlight for many children and especially kids from small rural towns. Because I was raised in the city until I was 8, it was a normal part of my childhood.

crying little girl
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Moving away from the PNE

I remember when we moved up north into Cariboo country and life changed immensely. We would sit down at the end of the school year waiting for our report cards but this time, when we saw that ticket for a free entry to Playland and the PNE, it was a little heart wrenching. It wasn’t possible to continue that tradition from so far away. I think we did it once after leaving Vancouver but after that, the novelty wore off. Driving 6 hours to eat cotton candy and ride the tiny coaster was replaced with the good ol’ Fall Fair. For the next 10 years, that fall fair, amusement park ticket was the equivalent of going to the PNE. I have very fond memories and that will be shared in another blog. Have you ever been to the PNE? If not, check it out. Might bring back some nostalgia. Shannon

Need more plants in your world? Tropicals, bouquets, gift baskets and more

Electric bikes are taking over

Similar to our new Vtuvia SK20 Fat tire Foldable E-bike (Dave’s is red)

If you are anything like Dave and I, when you park your motorcycle for the winter months, it is hard to imagine not hopping back on in the spring. It can get downright depressing if you aren’t riding by June. Well, this year we opted to leave the Harleys in storage and make way for our new e-bikes. Because we travel in a fifth wheel trailer and storage space is at a premium, we chose foldable fat tire electric bikes that take up very minimal space when tucked in. Dave went for the full frame, Vtuvia SK20 model and I chose the step thru version SF20. Both make the same power (the 750 watt can get upwards of 1000 watts) and both have the same cool features. I do a full feature on e-bikes on my blog right here

Similar to our new Vtuvia SF20 Fat tire Foldable E-bike (mine is black)

Puppy on Board

I will be packing the dog on mine so we will make sure the basket on the front is durable and spacious. She is used to being on the quad in a milk crate (or on the back of my Harley) so, this will be a step up. She will be front and centre as we cruise the trails. In the next few weeks, we are going to be doing a more in depth review of both bikes with cool photos and maybe a little video along with it. For now, this little teaser is all I can give. Stay tuned.

nature flowers plant blossom
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My Backyard

I am sitting here typing on my computer and feeling this immense gratitude in my life for such a spectacular view. I haven’t felt this calm and peaceful in a while. Living alongside a busy highway can be a little challenging at times and for us to be offered such a beautiful space to park our butts is such a gift. I took horticulture at university waaaaaayy back in 1991 and the 900 plant names that I had to memorize are all coming back to me. I can even remember some of the Latin stuff. So far, in my backyard, I have seen bunnies, squirrels, robins, eagles, peregrine falcons, snails, snakes, deer, and raccoons. At last count, no less than 5 bunnies were chillin’ in the daisies. The plants I have already classified are so diverse and some are not native but were probably planted over 50 years ago near what looks like an old house foundation.

The Beauty Around Me

Here’s a list of what I have found in the past 5 weeks. Hold on to your hat! This is pretty extensive. We have blackberries, raspberries, stinging nettle, poison ivy (that’s fun), butterfly bush, rhododendron, daisy, spearmint, citronella lemon balm, clover, kale (barf), buttercups, dandelion, wild rhubarb, chamomile, pacific dogwood (BC’s official provincial emblem), toadflax, Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, Western red cedar, arbutus, wild ginger, Nootka rose, trillium, sword fern, grasses, and Oregon grape. I am certain that I’m missing some but you get the idea. This place is a hotbed for growing things. I feel pretty honored to be able to sit among this beauty every day. I cannot wait to pick these wild blackberries. I am sure that the bunnies will be on them quicker than me but maybe they will share a cup or 2. I just have to avoid that nasty little poison ivy and those long and deadly thorn-covered blackberry branches. Not interested in a hospital visit any time soon. Shannon

See the beauty in the small things. It’s worth it.


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