PNE Parade on East Hastings

2010-006.167 – Vancouver 1956 PNE Parade, Aug 1956.

The scene above captures well the enthusiasm of PNE Parade spectators at East Hastings and Princess Street in the mid-1950s. There would be parades to kick off the Pacific National Exhibition each year for another 40 years (ending in 1995). The only exception since ’95 has been a parade to mark the 100th anniversary of the PNE in 2010; but that parade was held on Beach Avenue near Stanley Park rather than along the traditional Hastings Street strip.

The Carl Rooms block (which apparently went up in the early years of the Great War, likely 1915) at 575 East Hastings still stands, as does the 4-storey Spokane Rooms two doors east (left) of there, which seems to have been on the block since about 1913. There is still a grocery where B&B Grocery once was; and today, the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House is where The WashHouse Launderette was in the image. At least a few of the single storey structures east of Spokane Rooms appear to remain: what was in 1956 home to such ‘Mom & Pop’ shops as Sak’s Tailors, a butcher (no baker or candlestick maker, as far as I can tell), an accordion manufacturer/college/musical instrument repair shop, and (of course) a barber shop and lunch counter (Princess Lunch). The dwelling between Carl Rooms and Spokane Rooms has been demolished to make way for the Tung Koon Benevolent Association block.

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