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Trading Fur for Iron

While the carnival business was growing, Bingo’s animal show was suffering. People no longer wanted to pay to see the animals.

A transport truck for West Coast Amusements Ltd., outdoors during the winter

WCA 1964 Ford Tilt Cab Transporting Timber, Monte Creek, BC

Zoos were opening up in large cities in the western provinces such as Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Highways and more reliable cars meant more people were travelling to see the attractions at their own leisure. If they couldn’t get to see the animals in person, television was bringing them right into their living rooms. Over twenty years, what was once exotic was now pedestrian.

Audio clip with transcript: “Changing with the Times”

Struggling to make ends meet every winter, Bingo might have remembered one of Patty Conklin’s quotes “if it eats in winter, don’t have it”. In the late 1960s, Bingo and Jackie made the decision to trade fur for iron. They loved working with the animals but they could not afford to keep a show on the road that was losing money. Some of the animals like the alligator and the kinkajou were donated to the Calgary Zoo. Homes were found for all of the animals.

Audio clip with transcript: “Animals to the Calgary Zoo”

A kinkajou, which has short beige fur with orange tones, little round ears, big brown eyes, little hands, a tail like a monkey, a small mouth and face

Kinkajou, New York State Zoo in Watertown

Concession food stand featuring cotton candy, also selling popcorn, candy apples, snow cones and cold drinks. The stand is pink and purple and has colourful graphics of the food all over

Modern WCA Concession Stand

With no animals, Bingo and Jackie focused on West Coast Amusements which was becoming a modern carnival consisting of rides, games and concessions. Their children Bob and Laura took on active roles with West Coast Amusements, Bob early on had pony rides set up, later he would get more into the games and Laura started at her mom’s jewelry stand and eventually inherited her grandparents cotton candy and popcorn stand. The Hauser family continued to work together towards this new vision of the carnival.

A carnival game at a midway under a tented canvas cover, there are colourful stuffed animal toys hung all around as prizes

WCA Prize Game, Circa 1960s

Audio clip with transcript: “Bob’s First Games at West Coast Amusements “

Black and white photo of a carnival cat rack game, a metal rectangular stand with three racks of clowns that can be knocked down, there is a sign that says three balls for one dollar and three cats three dollars

Cat Rack Game, Circa 1942