Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Vancouver PNE Forum

1931, shortly after opening
1961/62 Vancouver Canucks Program Header
The arena at the Vancouver Pacific National Exhibition Forum was the premier facility in the city for over three decades. Built in 1931 at the corner of Hastings and Renfrew on the East side of the city, it replaced the much larger Denman Arena as the main rink in town after the latter burned down in 1936. The structure remains one of the oldest current or former hockey arenas in Canada. Only Galt Gardens in Ontario, built in 1922 is older. Windsor Arena was built in 1925, but as of last year was being used as a salt storage facility by the local road works department, I believe it is slated for demolition.
Construction, 1931
Originally with a capacity of 5,050 the Forum became home to the Vancouver Canucks of the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1945. By 1952, the loop was known as simply the Western Hockey League and the Forum would remain the Canucks home until 1967. This was the year the Pacific Coliseum opened right next door, providing a far larger home for the hockey club.
Many future and former NHL players skated for the Canucks at the Forum including Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bower, Bruce Gamble, Emile Francis, Bryan Hextall, Orland Kurtenbach, Allan Stanley, Gump Worsley, Lou Fontinato and Don Cherry.
Vancouver Canucks 1946
2015, view from South-West
I was recently able to explore some of the hidden nooks and crannies of the eight decade old building.at the Forum and took a few photos.

Not sure what's behind this door
Sprinkler room entrance
Utility corridor
Under the stands
Utility room

Closeup of the 50 year old bench seating
Roof support pillars

A couple wider shots of the stands
Since hockey vacated the Forum, the building continued to host concerts and trade shows. The ice-plant was removed in the early 1980's and placed put to use in the neighbouring Agridome (also on teh PNE site). As recently as 2010 the Forum served as Accreditation Centre for the Vancouver Olympics.

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