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COVID-19 rules against large gatherings force PNE to cancel 2021 exhibition

Last Updated May 5, 2021 at 12:24 pm EDT

VANCOUVER —
The Pacific National Exhibition says ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have forced the cancellation of the annual fair for a second year in a row.

A statement from PNE management says even a scaled back in-person event will not be possible this summer.

The exhibition, which is owned by the City of Vancouver and operating for more than a century, runs for the two weeks leading up to Labour Day, pumping $200 million into the Metro Vancouver region annually.

The statement says the PNE creates 4,300 direct jobs, more than twice as many direct or indirect positions, and is the largest employer of youth in B.C.

CUPE Local 1004 president Andrew Ledger says thousands of the union’s members depend on the fair to pay for post-secondary education or support their families.

The statement from the PNE says it is committed to working with health officials to “see what might be possible as the summer progresses.”

“Despite our planning for a number of scalable versions of the PNE fair, it is now clear that the number of guests required to make an in-person fair financially viable will not be allowed under anticipated public health orders this summer,” PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance said in the statement.

Ledger calls the cancellation a “massive loss of much-needed employment.”

The Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society announced Monday that it has cancelled the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks event due to pandemic restrictions.

The annual show attracts an average of 400,000 people to Vancouver’s English Bay for each of the event’s three nights, and was also cancelled last summer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press