After a century of entertaining British Columbians and showcasing the fun side of B.C.'s agriculture sector, the Pacific National Exhibition is being recognized with a Century Farm Award, announced Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson today.
"The PNE's contribution to the agriculture industry is invaluable," said Thomson. "This fun event brings the country to the city. More than 900,000 people visit the fair during its 17 days. That means roughly one in five British Columbians learn about farming at the PNE every year."
Century Farm Awards honour pioneers whose farms or ranches have been in families for 100 years or more, as well as agricultural organizations that have been active for a century or longer. Each Century Farm Award celebrates the rich heritage of farming and ranching families and organizations in B.C.
"Receiving this award is a tremendous honour. Agriculture has always been at the heart of the Fair, dating back to our beginning in 1910," said PNE CEO and president Michael McDaniel. "Today, the agricultural area remains one of the fair's most popular attractions, continuing to bridge the gap between urban and rural British Columbia and acting as a key educational showcase of the importance of the agricultural industry to all British Columbians."
Originally named the Industrial Exhibition, on Aug. 15, 1910 Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier welcomed the fair's very first visitors to what was then just a five-day event. Around 68,000 people visited the exhibition the first year.
Many years later in 1947, the exhibition was renamed the Pacific National Exhibition. That year, more than 580,000 people walked through the fair's gates. Today, the PNE has grown to run for 17 full days from Aug. 21 to Sept. 6 and welcomes visitors from across B.C. and around the world.
B.C. has the most diverse agriculture industry in Canada. The agri- food industry is an important contributor to the provincial economy with more than 225 food commodities produced in B.C., totalling over $24.6 billion annually in consumer sales and supporting over 315,000 jobs.
Farm and ranch businesses, organizations and institutions that may qualify for the Century Farm program can apply online for an award. For more information, please visit: www.agf.gov.bc.ca/regional/CenturyFarmAwards/CenturyFarms.htm