|Please note: The Carousel is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your understanding.|
The restored 1912 C.W. Parker Carousel is located on the grounds of the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel. Visitors can ride the carousel as part of their visit to the Museum, or choose just to ride the carousel.
The carousel is ready for riders during the Museum's public hours such as Spring Break, the Summer Season and Heritage Christmas. There is a 1/2 hour lunch break during which there are no rides are available. The last call for rides is 15 minutes prior to the museum's closing time.
As with all our artifacts, our carousel must be treated with respect. The over 100-year old machine has provided many exciting experiences for generations. To ensure that many more generations have this opportunity, we enforce strict loading, riding and safety rules. [PDF - 208 KB]
For more information see below:
Charles Wallace Parker (1864 - 1932) was born in Griggsville, Illinois, and grew up in Kansas. In 1892 he formed the C.W. Parker Company and bought his first carousel. He established a factory in Abilene, Kansas, and then in 1911 moved the factory to Leavenworth, Kansas. Parker called his machines “Carry-Us-Alls” as he felt that the plain term “Merry-Go-Round” was too tame for such a flashy contrivance. It carried all ages and sizes and thus to him, everybody. The Museum has chosen to use the generic name “Carousel” to refer to this machine as that is how it has been called most of its life.
He called himself "Colonel Parker", "America's Carnival King" and "World's Greatest Showman". Parker was a great showman and conscientious about a clean image for carnivals … but he also stretched the truth to extremes. He had several traveling shows throughout the American west and mid-west, as well as into Canada.
Business dropped off considerably in the 1920s and by the end of 1925, Parker's company basically refurbished machines rather than manufactured them. By 1925, Parker also began making aluminum carousel figures. His son took over the business in 1930. C.W. Parker died in 1932
The Parker #119 was the 119th carousel constructed by C.W. Parker in Leavenworth, Kansas. Built in 1912, it was first sold in 1913 to Mr. F.K. Leggett of Houston Texas for $5,886.00. It was originally equipped with a steam engine and "wishbones/grass-hopper/jumping horse" mechanisms. It toured Texas for two years with the Lone Star Circus until 1915 when the machine was shipped back to the factory.
It is believed that the machine was rebuilt by the factory and had some fancier horses and heavier rounding boards added. The jumping mechanism may have been changed at that time. Some of the horses are circa1917 and some 1920-22. Factory records we consulted do not definitively tell where the machine went between 1915 and 1936. It possibly went to San Jose, CA from 1918 until 1922 and then to San Francisco or Tacoma, Washington. In 1936 it was purchased and was in operation at Happyland at Hastings Park in Vancouver by May 1936.
The Parker #119 was put onto a pavilion which had been built in 1928 by a rival company (Philadelphia Toboggan Company - P.T.C.). It was located next to the Shoot-The-Chutes ride. Here it remained until Happyland was demolished in 1957 and Playland constructed on the north side of Hastings Street by the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). Parker #119 was moved to a new but smaller pavilion in Playland until that too was demolished in 1972. From 1972 to 1989, Parker #119 was operated outdoors in the summer and was put away each winter.
In 1989 the PNE announced that the carousel would be sold off horse by horse at an auction in New York State. Ms. Venus Solano and Mr. Doug McCalum and other local residents came together to Save the Carousel and formed the Friends of the Vancouver Carousel Society. In May 1989, Burnaby Village Museum agreed to provide a home for the carousel and the Friends of the Carousel, led by President Don Wrigley, set about raising the $350,000 to purchase the machine. Keith Jamieson, a carousel expert, was brought in to coordinate the rebuilding project.
Miraculously, and with a great deal of hard work, the help of the Government of British Columbia and the support of the Municipality of Burnaby, the carousel was purchased. Funds were also raised to pay for the restoration, and Burnaby agreed to build a new pavilion for it as a Centennial project.
The conservator and curator oversee the annual maintenance and conservation work, including protecting and caring for the horses and addressing all structural issues. Dirt, oil, and sunscreen from the hundreds of riders penetrate the Varathane on the horses, dulling the colour and putting the coats of paint at risk. The offending Varathane is carefully removed and replaced by museum specialists.
January 2006 saw a major overhaul of the carousel structure itself. The floor was dropped and the horses removed to allow the sweeps and spreaders to be removed, examined and replaced as needed. New steel plates holding the spreaders were fabricated and installed. The mounting plates in the sister gear were also inspected and replaced. The housings for the bearings were marked for future inspection of wear patterns. The floor was also sanded and refinished.
In 2017, once again the horses, ponies and the chariot were removed. This time for a complete refinishing of the oak flooring.
The museum is committed to the preservation and maintenance of this amazing piece of history. The delight it gives both visitors and staff cannot be measured.
Music for the carousel is provided by a restored 1925 146B Wurlitzer Military band organ capable of duplicating the sound of a large band, generating up to 90 decibels of sound. This is the exact same model and style that accompanied the carousel rides at Playland in Vancouver.Go to Top