Deep disappointment over lack of New Year's Eve fireworks in Vancouver

Jan 2 2023, 12:26 am

Thousands of people descended onto downtown Vancouver last night on New Year’s Eve, but unlike other major global cities, they had to find their own fun and revelry to ring in 2023 as there was no official public celebration.

Once again, Concord’s New Year’s Eve Vancouver’s fireworks celebration was cancelled. For a number of years, it was previously held at Coal Harbour and the Vancouver Convention Centre, attracting upwards of over 100,000 people. Organizers were looking to move the event to East False Creek and Concord Pacific Place starting in 2020.

But the pandemic forced a prolonged NYE fireworks hiatus in Vancouver, and its impacts continued into 2022 — even though this was the first NYE without health safety restrictions since the pandemic began.

In a press release last month, the volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization behind the celebration said “a very difficult decision was made to postpone the inaugural event [at the new location] due to escalating costs in logistics, and challenges with securing the necessary critical labour in completing the required site-wide security and crowd control measures across East False Creek.”

They were working with “a proven team of global contractors to bring back the first full-scale New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration at the event’s new location of East False Creek (between Cambie Bridge and Science World), complete with activations, experiences, and pyro special effects that have never been seen before in Vancouver. This new, truly world-class event concept would have made all Vancouverites proud, and rekindled a sense of civic pride, hope, and betterment during the most auspicious night of the year.”

Organizers say they are now working on returning NYE fireworks to Vancouver on December 31, 2023 to ring in 2024.

Photos and videos uploaded to social media last night show crowds descending onto Concord’s NYE Vancouver’s pre-pandemic location at Coal Harbour, with smartphone cameras pointed towards the water and people counting down to midnight. To their disappointment, there were no fireworks.

Without an official public celebration, thousands of people also gathered on the Granville Entertainment District in downtown.

But small fireworks events were held atop Cypress Mountain and Grouse Mountain, and at Whistler Village.


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Although health safety restrictions were lifted for most of the year, 2022 was a tough year for the return of major public events within Vancouver; the Port of Vancouver cancelled its traditional Canada Day fireworks at Canada Place due to rising costs, the Santa Clause Parade was cancelled due to lack of sponsorship, the two-night Christmas-themed drone show, sponsored by Best Buy, using 300 drones, at Canada Place was completely cancelled due to last minute technical difficulties with signal interference, and various other events were also either cancelled or downsized.

The much-anticipated FIA Formula E car race was set to have its inaugural Vancouver event over the Canada Day 2022 long weekend. The race was cancelled due to a myriad of reasons, including organizational disarray, and tens of thousands of ticket holders have yet to receive their refunds.

However, the major Lunar New Year Parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown will be making its first return since the pandemic’s onset on Sunday, January 22, 2023.

Vancouver was not the only major city in Canada without a major NYE public celebration. The traditional fireworks event at downtown Montreal’s Old Port was cancelled due to both rising costs and a shortage of labour.

But Toronto celebrated the new year with fireworks on its downtown waterfront, effectively a major improvement from the previous celebrations traditionally held in Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall.

Fireworks also erupted off the top of the Calgary Tower at the stroke of midnight.

In Seattle, the Space Needle’s traditional NYE fireworks returned with not only even more fireworks, but also an integrated drone show using 250 drones. However, there were major technical challenges with the drones, which were out of synchronization with the fireworks, and only began their “countdown clock” sequence in the sky three minutes after midnight.

What are your thoughts on the lack of a major public celebration with fireworks to ring in the new year in Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below.


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