Improving the PNE

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Here are a few tips about sources, subject headings, and strategies that you may want to start with. Note that these tips are just a start: think broadly about the sort of information you need and about who might have that information (government/association/academic/news/etc.).

As you begin researching this topic, you'll probably want to review the Hastings Park Master Plan, and you may want to scan the 100 Years of Fun publication to get a sense of the PNE's history. I'd imagine that you'll also want to read news articles about current renovation/expansion plans. For example, see this Daily Hive article from a few months ago.

Articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers

A. Try Academic Search Premier to get both popular magazine and academic journal articles in a wide range of subject areas. Start with terms such as Amusement parks or Theme parks, combined with marketing or attendance.

B. Business Source Complete is worth exploring with terms such as Amusement Parks, Theme Parks, and Agricultural Fairs. Here's a link to an exploratory search I ran.

C. For more of a Canadian perspective, try CBCA Complete and look for articles using the same terms (as keywords rather than subjects) listed above.

Also try Canadian Newsstream for Canadian newspaper articles. (Newspaper articles can be a great way to spot relevant experts, government bodies, key associations, and unexpected side topics that need to be explored.)

  • In fact, here's a link to a search I ran in Canadian Newsstream focused on changes at the PNE. As you can see, the issue of what the PNE should do to survive has come up regularly over the years. Scan a few articles to learn about the issues, then research deeper to see which issues still exist and which have been dealt with.
  • And here's a link to a broader search of Canadian Newsstream looking beyond the PNE.

Still with Canadian Newsstream... During one of my searches, I came across this 2008 Vancouver Sun article by John Mackie on ways that the PNE could improve. In it, he mentioned that he had written over 200 Vancouver Sun articles on the PNE. Given that he cares so much, I thought it might be nice to scan some of his articles, especially his recent ones. Click here for the results of my search for Mackie's other Vancouver Sun articles on the PNE, right up to the present.

D. A few quick notes about search terms:

a. Words such as fair or rides may be too generic to be useful in some of the databases. Try searching for phrases such as the following instead.

  • "Agricultural Exhibitions"
  • "Amusement Parks"
  • "Theme Parks"
  • "Agricultural Fairs"
  • "County Fairs"

b. Many of the resources that deal with such agricultural exhibitions are mostly talking about rural fairs. Don't automatically reject such things -- look for ways in which they might be relevant. And for information on more urban examples, try some Googling to learn about the fairs in places like Toronto (Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)), Ottawa (SuperEx), and Edmonton (CapitalEx). Maybe the super-successful Calgary Stampede also has some lessons for the PNE... although (again) be sure to consider the difference in culture and scale when judging relevance!

c. Also, consider searching more broadly for best practices in promoting local tourism or cultural events, rather than just focusing on events that are directly comparable to the Fair at the PNE.

Other resources

A. Tourism Vancouver offers some marketing research, as does Destination BC.

B. Search the reports, statistics, and even meeting minutes of the local governments and governmental agencies: Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver.

C. In my initial searches on this topic, I came across the article below a few times. It isn't perfect (no article is!) - for instance it's focused on the US and rural fairs - but perhaps scanning it will give you further ideas about keywords and concepts you could explore?

Lillywhite, J. M., Simonsen, J. E., & Acharya, R.N. (2011). Recognizing Constraints and Perceptions Influencing Agricultural Fair Attendance in the United States (377). 2011 Annual World Symposium: International Food and Agribusiness Management Association.
  • And, of course, once you find one article, you can use it to find more. For instance, the authors of the article above also wrote this one in 2013 -- which was cited in this 2016 ebook. And one of the authors wrote this article in 2016.

D. You will probably want to scan past annual reports and press releases from the PNE site.

E. I came across the following industry association that may be worth investigating (although I suspect they restrict their best publications for their members only):

F. I imagine you might want to pay attention to any positive and negative reviews of the PNE in social media and on the internet in general to get a sense of what people tend to like/want out of the whole PNE experience. Just be careful to not claim such information is purely objective or broadly representative.

G. You may need to find some demographic data for Metro Vancouver. There are many places to find such data, but one of my favourites is the Metro Vancouver site. See also our SimplyAnalytics database.

H. I totally forgot about the PNE/Playland Facebook page, and the PNE's blog. Maybe some useful information there...?

I. The Amusement Today site provides lots of information on trends in the amusement park industry. Be sure to check out the "AT in Print" section of their site for issues of their magazine, as well as the 2019 Park Preview] report.

<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>