PNE Multiplex vs. BC Place

CVA 180-4340 - P.N.E. representative E.M. Swangard shows Premier W.R. Bennett and wife scale model of proposed Multiplex 1978 Robert Dibble photo.

CVA 180-4340 – P.N.E. representative (President) E(rwin) M. Swangard (1908-1993) shows Premier W.R. Bennett (1932-2015) and wife (Audrey) scale model of proposed Multiplex 1978 Robert Dibble photo.

According to a very good history of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), Vancouver’s Fair, a Multiplex was formally endorsed by the association in 1978 as a way of overhauling the PNE physical plant in Hastings Park.

It was proposed that the Multiplex would include a 60,000-seat stadium, 227,000 feet of exhibition space, and a 239,000 square foot capacity for agricultural events. The PNE endorsement of the Multiplex plan was not by any means a ‘sure thing’, however. The problem was “the competition of some other grand visions to which powerful interests were attached” (158). One vision was for the redevelopment of the CPR’s former B-C Pier (which would become known as Canada Place), but that plan seems not to have been in direct competition with the Multiplex proposal. The real battle was between the PNE and those advocating a covered stadium in downtown Vancouver (what would later be known as BC Place Stadium).

The PNE and BC Place proposal representatives fought for favourable public opinion. The province ultimately appointed Paul Manning to choose between the two. “In April 1980, Manning announced that he had decided in favour of a domed stadium on the north shore of False Creek that would be the anchor piece of the larger B.C. Place Redevelopment Project. The decision marked the end of Multiplex…” (159)

This brief video clip shows time lapse perspectives from inside and outside of BC Place during the inflation of its roof.

CVA 780-816 - B.C. Place - events and parking traffic study 1983

CVA 780-816 – B.C. Place – events and parking traffic study 1983.

Source:

Vancouver’s Fair: An Administrative & Political History of the Pacific National Exhibition. David Breen and Kenneth Coates. UBC Press, 1982.

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