“Hunky” Bill Konyk at the PNE Fair in an undated photo.

PNE food legend ‘Hunky’ Bill Konyk dies days before 2019 fair opens

Family-operated Hunky Bill’s business has spanned three generations

Just days before the PNE is set to begin for another summer, fair food legend “Hunky” Bill Konyk has died, according to a PNE statement. He was 88.

“Bill passed away peacefully last night, surrounded by his family,” a media release stated Wednesday morning (Aug. 14).

“It is with incredible sadness that the Pacific National Exhibition acknowledges the passing of the one of one of our longest standing concessionaires and iconic members of our Fair family, Bill Konyk, known across the Canadian fair industry as Hunky Bill.”

The Winnipeg-born Konyk was “a beloved member of the extended PNE family for 52 years, beginning, as the legend has it, when the then Vancouver based radio executive bet a friend $10 that he could get a booth at the PNE to sell his homemade Ukrainian style perogies.

“The story goes that Bill showed up at the PNE administration office and spent an hour and a half convincing the then head of the PNE booth sales department to give him a chance. Konyk got his booth, won his $10 and began a 52-year journey during which time Hunky Bill has become one of the most iconic pitchmen and restaurateurs in Canadian history.”

CLICK HERE to read more Hunky Bill’s history on the company website.

Many years ago, as a freelance sports reporter, Konyk met and interviewed many sports celebrities including Mickey Mantle, Casey Stengel, Bobby Hull, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams. “Casey Stengel called him the Crazy Canuck after watching him consume his favorite beverage – beer,” says a post at hunkybills.com/history.

By 1967, Konyk worked as general manager of the CFUN radio station in Vancouver, at a time when he also imported Ukrainian food from Winnipeg.

The family-operated Hunky Bill’s business has spanned three generations, according to PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance.

The food stand has been a fixture at events across the province, including Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair.

“Bill’s loving wife Kay and three sons Bill Jr., Clayton, and Mark will continue on the tradition of serving the best Ukrainian food in the city.

“Hunky Bill will be incredibly missed by his many friends and family across Canada, including all those in his PNE Fair family.”

• RELATED STORY:

The 2019 PNE Fair: What’s new, what’s not and when to visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nak’azdli and UNBC form partnership to preserve inter-generational stories

“Stories can empower. Stories can bring people together. Stories can be instructive,”… Continue reading

UNBC professor receives funding to research oilspill response

The $1.9 million in funding was provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Father to B.C.’s first MLB hall-of-famer is one proud dad

Larry Walker Sr. talks baseball background and son’s base running gaffe

Most Read