Craving that sense of nostalgia only your childhood can bring? Well, look no further.
These are some of the most memorable Metro Vancouver attractions that likely only people who grew up in the 80s and 90s will have fond memories of.
Metro Vancouver Attractions Popular In The 80s/90s
Dinotown, near Chilliwack
Those who grew up watching cartoons like the Flintstones would dream about finding a place like Bedrock in real life. And Dinotown was the closest thing to that for a lot of 80s and 90s kids. The dinosaur-themed park was located on Highway 1 at Bridal Falls, just east of Chilliwack.
Originally named Bedrock City, it ran from 1975 all the way to 2010. Attractions included cement dinosaurs, a slide-a-saurus, hand-powered bumper cars and a Jurassic exhibit that was on loan from the popular Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. It was also home to a White Spot restaurant in 2000, that was appropriately called White Spot Dinersaurus.
While this amusement park still lives on to this day, it’s under another name. Only longtime fans of Castle Fun Park will remember the days when it was known simply as Wonderland. It started out small in 1989, by offering 50 arcade games and an outdoor golf course. Within just a few short years it grew to include a variety of activities.
The name was changed in 1998 when the owners received a fax from an Ontario amusement park saying that they were infringing on their park’s naming rights. Wonderland had provincial rights to the name but the other park in Ontario had secured national rights to it. They were given only 24-hours to change its name, and then Castle Fun Park was created. Even from then until now, it still remains a fun place to bring the whole family to enjoy Go Kart racing, arcade games and mini golf.
Rainforest Cafe, Burnaby
Chances are if you grew up in the Metro Vancouver area during the late 90s, you’ve been to the iconic Rainforest Cafe in Burnaby. The iconic restaurant was so much more than a place to eat, it was a full-blown experience. The eatery opened in Metropolis at Metrotown in June 1998 and closed its doors in October of 2001. While its existence was short and sweet, it left a lasting impact on all who ate there.
While you downed some waffle fries – sounds of rain and thunder filled the restaurant – which as a kid made you feel like you’re actually in a rainforest. Plus, all the “animals” lurking around helped create the scene. The food was pretty much what you’d find at any other chain restaurant, but it’s the atmosphere that kept people coming back for more.
Stanley Park Zoo, Vancouver
Up until the early 1990s there was a a zoo located in Downtown Vancouver at Stanley Park. It was free for the public, and a place where various types of animals from different regions of the world used to live. It was located right beside the aquarium, and had a miniature train that brought you around to look at animals in different enclosures. As the years went on though, many people voted to do away with it over concerns of animal cruelty. Today, most of the infrastructure is now gone, with only the cement polar bear enclosure still existing.
If you grew up in the Lower Mainland, then you probably remember the best arcade spot in Burnaby, which of course was Playdium at Metrotown. The arcade mecca was replaced by a Winners back in 2005 and left a huge hole in our hearts. It was the place to go and hang out in the 90s up until its closure. Besides playing games for prizes, you could order food and rent out private rooms for birthday parties.
While there are several other arcades that have popped up throughout the years, nothing can compare to the original, where many Metro Vancouverites spent a good chunk of their childhood. To this day, there’s no official reason why Playdium closed its Burnaby location. However, past employees reported it was the result of failing to add new games, a rent increase, as well as mismanaged funds.
Stardust Skating Rink, Surrey
Thinking of this beloved spot will definitely stir up some nostalgia for those who grew up in the 80s and 90s. The popular roller rink in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood was actually in business from 1971 until it sadly closed its doors in 2005.
Since it closed, the space has been used for a number of different purposes, from housing a Liquidation World store, an arena and even the Surrey Christmas Bureau’s seasonal toy depot. It did however host one final skate in 2018, shortly after an annoucement was made that the building was being torn down to make way for a 49-storey tower.
Old BC Place, Vancouver
Although it is still a landmark today, BC Place looked very different before the renovations
in 2014. Built in 1984, many of us still remember the inflatable roof (and the few times it deflated). This multi-purpose stadium located at the north side of False Creek has hosted many sporting events and concerts over the years, and almost everyone who has lived in Vancouver has gone there at least once in their lifetime.
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