Stan Fuller on how Expo 86 invigorated Vancouver’s drinking scene

Thirty years ago, on October 13, Expo 86 closed its gates for good. Van Mag spoke with three high-profile Vancouverites about their time at the world’s fair, and the legacy it left behind (hint: more patios). Here's what Stan Fuller, CEO of Earls Restaurants, had to say.

August 16, 2016

By Stan Fuller (as told to Eliot Escalona)

The biggest change is that we grew up and became a much more cosmopolitan city. Up until the expo, you couldn’t have a drink on a Sunday without eating, and only hotel bars were open—supposedly just for their guests. Nor could you stand around on a patio with a drink in your hand as liquor laws required you to be sitting.

Stan and Bus Fuller in 1982
Stan and Bus Fuller in 1982

And speaking of patios, Earls was one of the only patios around back then. People just didn’t understand the allure of them, but the Europeans had been dining al fresco for centuries and the rest of Vancouver quickly stepped up to offer patio dining. Now we have some of the best patios in Canada.

We immediately became more cosmopolitan, more aware of the benefits of tourism and what an enormous boom it was to the city. It made us aware that we were a great city to visit and increased our confidence as a tourism city. We were able to increase hours, serve drinks on Sundays, and really create a patio culture and understand what it was like to serve a variety of global visitors.

>> Jim Pattison on how Expo 86 changed Vancouver

>> Gloria Macarenko on her time at Expo 86

Get the Newsletter

Own your city with Vancouver’s thrice-weekly scoop on the latest restaurant news, must-shop hotspots and can’t miss events. Rest assured your email is safe with us.