Thrill-seekers have one less ride to enjoy at Vancouver's iconic amusement park this summer.
Playland's historic wooden coaster will remain closed for the remainder of 2021, including during the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) fair.
The coaster will undergo a major refurbishment project prior to the 2022 season, which PNE organizers expect will be one of the busiest to date, explains a news release.
The refurbishment is not related to any specific safety issue but rather an overall upgrade.
“The Wooden Coaster is one of the most highly maintained rides in the country, but as a living structure built from wood, we must undertake regular maintenance prior to the opening of the park each year,” says PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance.
“As we approached summer 2021 there were many unknowns as to how much, if any, of the Playland season would be saved due to COVID-19 closures. With the park potentially being closed already due to the pandemic, and in consultation with our engineering consultants, it made sense to continue with the refurbishment plan at this time, which unfortunately means the Coaster will need to remain closed for 2021."
Organizers expect the project will be completed prior to the opening of the Playland Park Season in spring 2022; it has an initial estimated cost of $500,000 to $750,000.
Completing the refurbishment during a significantly "quieter COVID season" will ensure it is ready for the "next 60+ years as a flagship attraction within the Playland Redevelopment Plan," adds the PNE.
In 2009, the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) named the Coaster an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation that is reserved for rides of “historical significance.”
The ride is the only one in Canada to earn the designation and was the first outside of the U.S. The first recipient was named in 2002 and since then a little more than 40 rides have earned an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark plaque.
It has also been designated one of the city’s Places that Matter by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, which aims to highlight and commemorate the people, places and events that have shaped the city.
With files from Jessica Kerr