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Things Prince George kids who grew up in the '90s will remember

It time to indulge in an enjoyable recollection of past events
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bubba baloos
A former Prince George childhood institution. (via YouTube)

All cities change over time, but sometimes random things from the era we grew up in stick around in the background of our minds and set the scenes of our childhood memories.

If you grew up in Prince George in the late '80s and '90s, there’s a bunch of things that have long since gone that you probably miss dearly.  

We thought we’d gather a list of things local millennials would look back fondly on for some good old-fashioned group nostalgia.

Disclaimer: People from other generations probably remember these things too.

Bubba Baloos

Laser tag, jungle gyms, arcade games and prizes, Bubba Baloos was a staple in many Prince George children’s childhoods.

Countless birthday parties took place and games of Laser Tag were won and lost at the iconic establishment.

Northern B.C.’s largest indoor playground closed in 2011, but an old commercial lives on thanks to YouTube user DerekBubba. 

It’s only 30 seconds long, but it’s definitely a blast from the past.

The original firetruck in the park

FireEngineThe fire truck before it was re-done. (via garden-gaze.com)

The fire truck in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park is still a Prince George icon, but it used to look a lot different.

Before it was updated to include railings and probably some necessary safety features, it was basically just an old fire truck with the doors welded-shut and no wheels.

When the Queen Came to P.G.

opening-queenQueen Elizabeth II visits Prince George to open UNBC. (via UNBC)

On August 17, 1994, Queen Elizabeth II came to Prince George to officially open the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). 

The event attracted more than 10,000 people for the campus to watch the ceremony and it was even broadcast nationwide on CBC.

As a kid, you might not have remembered how big of a deal this was or you might have, for instance, camped out on your grandmother’s balcony and waved frantically as the Queen’s convoy drove up 15 Avenue.

Mr. G Screamers

These delicious slurpees topped with ice cream are still available, but the golden-era of the screamer has to be when Mr. G convenience stores dominated the city.

A collective memory for millennial kids in Prince George has to be scrounging around for just enough change to get a screamer on a hot summer day.

There’s even a legend that screamers were invented in Prince George, and were probably invented in the city in 1989, according to a local reporter’s lengthy investigation into the issue.

The Canadian Northern Children’s Festival

The Canadian Northern Children’s Festival, commonly called Children’s Festival, was a four-day festival held at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park (then known as Fort George Park).

It featured live acts like acclaimed Canadian children’s singers and entertainers as well as and hands-on activities.

The Prince George Free Press reported that in its heyday, attendance at the festival was over 60,000.

The Festival moved from Fort George Park to the Kin Centres in the early 2000s, before the festival eventually folded.

Noah’s Ark Adventureland

Noah’s Ark Adventureland was a petting zoo on Cranbrook Hill that operated for more than 20 years.

It only closed as recently as September 2015 when owner Lana Norn retired from the business.

The farm hosted educational school tours, family events and even sleigh rides in the winter.

The fountain at Pine Centre Mall

Pine Centre Mall has changed a lot over the decades, and one of its biggest features is no more.

There used to be a huge fountain at the entrance to the mall where the children’s play area is now currently.

A trip to the mall wasn’t complete without begging your parents for pennies to throw into the fountain to make a wish.

The IMAX-like rides at the Exploration Place

The Exploration Place is still a place that provides extensive programming for Prince George children and is probably better than ever.  

Back-in-the-day, the Exploration Place had a virtual reality type rides called SimEx, which thrilled many kids.  

For example, you’d watch a movie about being on a rollercoaster and your chair would shake and rock accordingly.  

The show featured all kinds of adventures like deep sea diving and space exploration.

Zellers and the Zellers Café

bcia-zellers-zeddy_600x(via B.C. is Awesome)

This isn’t extremely specific to Prince George, but a trip to the mall for any millennial kid usually featured a stop Zellers and maybe a bite-to-eat in the Zellers café.

Since we are talking about department store's with restaurants, there was also a cafeteria in the basement of the Pine Centre Sears. 

But after the failure of Target, Zellers has become a relic of a by-gone era in Canadian history and Sears has since followed suit.  

The human-shaped chairs at the Library

This is probably the most obscure reference in this list, but those who know will know immediately.

The Prince George Public Library’s downtown Bob Harkins Branch used to be home to some distractive looking chairs.

In the children’s section, the library had lounge chairs designed for reading that were shaped like a human body. 

They almost looked like a stick man lying down and were extremely fun to try and tip over when pretending to be quietly reading.

The Family Fun Centre in Spruceland

Spruceland Mall used to be the place to go for fashioned family fun.

Similar to Bubba Baloos but on a smaller scale, the Family Fun Centre had arcade games and rides for kids.

The Odeon Theatre

largeThe Prince George Odean Theatre (via cinematreasrues.org)

Famous Players in Parkwood Mall opened in the late 1990s, and before that, a generation of kids saw their first movie at the Odeon Prince George, which was located 355 Vancouver St. and is now the Uda Dune Baiyo 'House of Ancestors'.

When it was the Odeon, it had three screens with the largest seating of 534 people.

The Odeon closed in the summer of 2001.

The old “water park”

Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park currently features the Rotaract Waterpark which is a colourful splash pad that delights countless children throughout the summer.

However, before the splash pad was installed the park featured a fountain-type structure that consisted of large and somewhat sharp rocks.

Kids would climb to the top of these rocks to splash in the ice cold water that poured down from a fountain at the top.

Surely, it was perfectly safe.

Is there something we missed that you think should be included on this list? Let us know! Send us an email to news@princegoergematters.com. 




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Hanna Petersen

About the Author: Hanna Petersen

Born and raised in Prince George, Hanna Petersen is a graduate of UNBC. She then abandoned her hometown for the East Coast, graduating with a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in the process.
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