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Playland's Wooden Coaster Celebrates 50th Birthday

On Tuesday, June 17th the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) invites ACE members to join them in celebrating the 50th birthday of Coaster, the wooden roller coaster at Playland Amusement Park in Vancouver, British Columbia. The event, which will begin at 6:00 a.m., will include free rides on Coaster from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m. Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan will be making a special presentation to PNE President and CEO Michael McDaniel, designating the Playland Coaster as a site of special significance to the city.

The PNE will also be making a presentation to American Coaster Enthusiasts. Formal pre-registration is not required to attend this birthday celebration, but if you are planning to come, please drop a quick e-mail to regional rep Steve Gzesh at so he can give the park an estimate of how many ACEers will be attending. If possible wear an ACE shirt, hat, pin, etc., to help identify you as an ACE member.

The park has generously set up a season-long discount for ACE members! Simply purchase discounted tickets online at and use promotion code “08ACE”. ACE members can purchase discounted day passes or season passes on the site.

Simply known as Coaster, this Playland gem opened to the public in 1958. It was designed by Carl Phare, and built by Walker LeRoy of Douglas Fir at a cost of $200,000. Designated an ACE coaster classic it has unique trains featuring eight two-person cars with a single lap bar and no seat dividers. The trains have flanged wheels, and an oil can attached to the front car ensures that the coaster is always well lubricated.

Although ACE does not officially rank coasters, many ACE members consider this coaster to be among the best. For several years talk of relocating the PNE caused ACE to list the coaster as a preservation concern. Current plans call for the PNE, Playland Park, and the coaster to stay in its current location to thrill a new generation of coaster enthusiasts. ACE wishes the Playland Coaster all the best on its 50th birthday, and hopes it will be around for many more years to come.


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* Lee Ann Draud
Publications Director
* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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