History of C. W. Parker Carousel

The C. W. Parker Carousel is a carousel built by C. W. Parker Company in 1910. It is also known as the Parker #119 and the Burnaby Centennial Parker Carousel. It is still working and is now located at Burnaby Village Museum at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Picture Of Carousel Horse

Charles Wallace Parker, who owned the C. W. Parker Company, built this carousel at Leavenworth, Kansas. He managed to sell it to Lone Star Circus for $5,886.00. It became a part of tour of this circus for the next two years after which it was shipped back to the factory.

Carousel was rebuilt there and some new horses and new rounding boards were added. It is known that some new horses were made in 1917 and other between 1920 and 1922 bat to whom the carousel belonged between 1915 and 1936 is not known.

In 1936, carousel was again sold but this time to Happyland, an amusement park in Vancouver, British Columbia where it stayed until the amusement park was demolished in 1957. From there it moves to another amusement park in Vancouver – Playland.

Carousel was a part of the Playland until the end in 1972 when this park was demolished. After that carousel worked outdoors and was sheltered each winter until 1989 when this carousel was put on an auction in New York, with an idea to be sold horse by horse. Local residents did not like the idea to lose one of their landmarks and a part of their history so they founded the “Friends of the Vancouver Carousel Society” whose purpose was to save the carousel. They named the carousel Parker #119 because it was the 119th carousel that C. W. Parker Company made and they started collecting the money to buy the carousel back. Burnaby Village Museum agreed to house the carousel in May of 1989 and to build a new pavilion for it.

“Friends” collected $350,000 to buy the carousel and they bought it in 1990. Keith Jamieson, a carousel expert, coordinated the rebuilding project fror which “Friends” also collected money. They managed a sponsorship where people who donated money could sponsor a horse and give it a name.

The pavilion in a museum for carousel was completed in 1993 and named the “Don Wrigley Pavilion” after the President of the “Friends of the Vancouver Carousel Society”. After the place where it is located the carousel was named the “Burnaby Centennial Parker Carousel”. Horses got names like: Captain Julius, Vanessa, Vivian, Centennial, and Helping Hand. But not all horses were restored. Horse named “Old Paint” was sponsored by the Burnaby Village Museum and was left in the original state to show how carousel looked before it was restored. It is not placed on carousel but in a display case next to the carousel. Four small ponies are equipped with wheelchair which makes them accessible to toddlers and disabled people. Carousel also has a Wurlitzer Band Organ that plays music while the carousel spins.