Shoot the Chutes!

Park P4 – View of buildings, rides and amusements at “Happy Land” (PNE midway) – with the Shoot the Chutes ride in the foreground – at Hastings Park. 193-. Leonard J. Frank photo.

The “Shoot the Chutes” ride at the Hastings Park midway from 1925 through 1957 was among the most popular rides. It had wooden boats into which passengers would climb. The boats would then be released, one at a time, from the top of an incline and, taking advantage of gravity, hurtle down the incline and into a basin of water with a great splash. The chute doesn’t seem to my present-day eyes to have had much of an incline, but judging from accounts at the time, it was plenty exciting!

CVA 260-499 – Shoot the Chutes ride at the PNE midway (Happy Land) at Hastings Park. ca1936. James Crookall photo.

The notion of shooting the chutes didn’t originate with the PNE ride. It seems to have come from the logging industry as a way of moving logs into the water, where they could be stored and towed.

Mi P8 – Logs on chute at Hastings Sawmill. Charles Macmunn. 1888.

Shooting the chute(s) for recreational purposes locally was advanced at English Bay with a slide that took children down to the bay (with or without the aid of a device to ride on — although, judging from photos, it appears that kids mostly slid down on their rear ends).* This was installed in about 1905. It seems to have continued in some form at least as late as the 1960s (Sun 15 July 1960).

There was a proposal for another water-oriented chute-shooter ride that was to be installed at Deadman’s Island as part of the ‘Coney Island’-type amusement park that was rumoured to be under consideration there in 1909. The park and ride were both ultimately non-starters, however.

Shooting the chute even became, for a short time, a way of referring to what today we would call sliding down a playground slide. This reference quickly fell into disuse, however.

Be P1.1 – English Bay Beach showing the Shoot the Chute. ca1900. Edwards Bros.
CVA 1184-88 – Less than happy times at Hastings Park: Vehicles, confiscated from Japanese nationals. Shoot the Chutes looms in the background. March 1942 Jack Lindsay

In 1957, the decision was made to move the midway to a new location within Hastings Park (the current location of Play Land). As part of that move, the Shoot the Chutes ride was demolished.

Bu P536.1 – Demolition of the Shoot The Chutes ride in Happy Land at Hastings Park. 1957.
Bu P536.2 – Demolition of the Shoot The Chutes ride in Happy Land at Hastings Park. 1957.

Apparently, there was at least one later Shoot the Chutes-style ride at Hastings Park, however. In 1990, mention was made in the press of a Wildwassbahn flume ride being a modern incarnation of Shoot the Chutes. It was installed for a sum of $1.4 million. It seems fair to say that that is substantially more than was spent on the original ride (Province 17 Aug 1990).


*However, it should be noted that the Shoot the Chutes slide at English Bay was sometimes referred to as a toboggan slide. Thanks to Neil Whaley for this piece of the puzzle. He is my go-to-guy for all things pertaining to old English Bay! (The photo below seems to me to better illustrate a toboggan slide than does the English Bay contraption!)

CVA 99-2076 – First snow scenes on Grouse Mountain, taken for the Star. 1929. Stuart Thomson photo.

This entry was posted in James Crookall, Leonard J. Frank, Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shoot the Chutes!

  1. David says:

    Disneyland in California has a Splash Mountain ride like Shoot the Chutes, only a lot more elaborate. Wikipedia says the ride was inspired by the 1946 Disney movie “Song of the South.”

    • mdm says:

      Thanks for sharing, David. Yes, I believe I went on that ride when I was there umpteen years ago (late ’70s).

      • David says:

        We went down it in the early 1990s. At that time you could pay extra for your photo which was snapped as your car neared or hit the bottom.

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