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East Side Story - Growing Up at the PNE

East Side Story

Growing Up at the PNE

By Nick Marino
Categories: Biography & Memoir, Humour, Canada, Popular Culture, British Columbia
Series: Robin's Egg Books
Paperback : 9781551529332, 224 pages, 2023
Expected to ship: 2023-08-08
Expected to ship: 2023-08-08


A sly, sentimental, and wickedly funny memoir about growing up at the local fair.


The PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) is a Vancouver tradition, an annual fair started in 1910 that is famous for its farm animals, dog trick shows, and amusement park - highlighted by Canada's oldest wooden roller coaster still in existence. In 1980, when Nick Marino was twelve years old, he started working at the PNE and quickly learned that there was more to the fair than winning stuffed animals and eating mini donuts. He had to contend with belligerent bosses, unhinged carnies, and teenage hustlers. In this funny, charming memoir of fair life, Marino revisits the "Wild West" of the city's East Side, home to the PNE, sharing stories from his six summers working at the fair, where arcade bouncers went on midnight roller coaster rides, riots broke out at concerts, and local kids helped themselves to everything. With beguiling and at times poignant humour, he pulls back the curtain on the culture of carnivals and fairs, an unpredictable and eternally young world of players, scammers, and dreamers.

B&W photographs throughout.

East Side Story is the latest addition to the Robin's Egg Books series, which features some of the freshest, smartest, and above all, funniest writing on a variety of culturally relevant subjects. Titles in the imprint are curated and edited by comedian, playwright, and author Charles Demers.


East Side Story is a history of a fairground that reads like a rollicking family history. A funny, clear-eyed writer, Nick Marino brilliantly taps into our collective longing for a simpler, less cynical place in our lives. -Kevin Chong, author of The Double Life of Benson Yu