Canada Day fireworks won’t return to Canada Place, port authority says

Those looking to view Vancouver’s night sky from Coal Harbour lit up with explosive colour on Canada Day will be disappointed, as the fireworks won’t be happening again.

According to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the decision was made last year to cancel the fireworks permanently as part of rebranding the event and costs.

“We took a whole new direction for the event last year, renaming it and rebranding it to be considered Canada Together as opposed to Canada Day,” Gillian Behnke, the manager of community relations and events with the port authority explained.

“As part of that reimagining, we decided to discontinue the fireworks. That was a decision we made last year, and it was sort of an ongoing decision that wasn’t something that would be revisited each year and we just really wanted to better align ourselves with this new direction for the event.”

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She adds that the industry has faced numerous challenges due to the pandemic.

“Costs across the event industry really skyrocketed after the pandemic and so we were seeing cost rise everywhere, including with fireworks and policing and different areas of the event,” she said.

The last time the fireworks were held was in 2019, and then pandemic restrictions prompted subsequent cancellations.

As for what the events will look like this year, Behnke says there will be lots of new performers on stage. The official lineup is slated to be announced on June 1.

“We’ll have all new performers on the stages, we will have a kid zone, we will have amazing food…Our North Point stage is going to be featuring only artists from around the Lower Mainland,” she said.

She says it will be a day to come together as a community.

“It’s a beautiful day typically and just being there to celebrate what it means to be Canadian, what it means to live in this country. And you know, gathering and celebrating together and honouring what it means to you to be Canadian.”

She says last year’s event was a huge success with lots of people decked out in the traditional red and white, but organizers noticed something and that prompted the change.

“We saw probably half the crowd come out in orange or ‘Every Child Matters’ t-shirts because they really understood the direction we’re taking. This event is planned collaboratively with representatives from Musquem, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and people really understood that it was no longer about a colonial holiday, it’s more about coming together to experience a country we all live in.”

The City of Calgary has also cancelled its large-scale fireworks show on Canada Day for similar reasons, however, there’s an online petition that’s gaining momentum, to bring them back.

With files from Michael Williams 

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