Residents of Metro Vancouver know how popular and important the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) is to the province, and today the Government of Canada has also recognized that importance, announcing a $10M investment into the exhibition.
The announcement was made by Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), a federal agency that focuses specifically on economic development and growth in British Columbia, with the money going towards "infrastructure and facility" to help maintain and improve the PNE. That will include things like safety upgrades, facility improvements, improved IT, better lighting, and more energy-efficient technology.
Furthermore, the funding will preserve over 4,000 jobs at the PNE, an important employer in the province because of its low barrier-of-entry job opportunities. According to the PNE, it is "the largest employer of youth in British Columbia", with over 50% of employees under the age of 21. Many job opportunities also go towards underrepresented groups, including women, new Canadians, and Indigenous workers.
The $10M will be provided as part of the federal Major Festivals and Events Support Initiative (MFESI), an initiative with a budget of $200M over two years that supports important events across Canada that were hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Events like the PNE are an important part of our economy and culture", Harjit S. Sajjan, the Minister of International Development responsible for PacifiCan, which delivers funding from the MFESI, said.
In the news release announcing the $10M funding, the Government of Canada said it is "committed to helping protect the iconic attractions that make Canada a world-class destination." British Columbians, or anybody who has visited the PNE, know that the PNE is indeed an iconic attraction.
Launched by Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier in 1910, the PNE -- a non-profit and statutory organization owned by the City of Vancouver -- has hosted numerous historic events, from the Miracle Mile to a performance by The Beatles. It remains the longest-running and best-attended event in BC, attracting over 700,000 every summer before the pandemic.
“The PNE", Shelley Frost, the PNE's President and CEO, said, "is extremely grateful for these much investments into facilities and infrastructure that make our business stronger, and in turn allow our organization to continue its historic role as BC’s largest ticketed event, the largest employer of youth and a key economic driver within the BC economy."
This year's PNE summer fair is still ongoing, running until Monday, September 5.