Vancouver to host downtown New Year’s Eve celebration next year

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Plans are underway to hold an official New Year’s Eve event in downtown Vancouver next year.

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Would you attend a free city-sponsored New Year's Eve party?

At a press conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre today (December 12), Mayor Gregor Robertson, Paul Sontz of Tourism Vancouver and Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association announced the plans for what will be the first official New Year's Eve event in more than a decade.

Fundraising and planning for the event is being coordinated by the newly-formed Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebration Society. Members of the not-for-profit initiative are hoping to encourage local businesses and community groups to support the celebrations next year.

“We’re pretty excited about this flagship New Year’s event,” said Paul Sontz, Manager of Cultural Tourism for Tourism Vancouver.

“The event will be great for visitors, residents, and downtown business. It will help fill hotel rooms [and] the event will be great also for creating business for stores, restaurants, pubs and tour operators during the week and the following week.”

The free New Year’s Eve celebration along Burrard Landing will include musical performances at Jack Poole Plaza, children’s activities, a midnight countdown celebration, and a fireworks display.

Robertson noted he is expecting to see a formal proposal come before city council for consideration in the coming months. Organizers don’t have details yet on how much the total cost of the event will be, but say it will be shared among various sponsors.

The city has provided tens of thousands in support for some official civic events, up to hundreds of thousands for the Celebration of Light fireworks festival.

"Most of the community events that happen here in Vancouver are primarily supported by the community and corporate sponsorships, so the city plays a supporting role," said Robertson.

"We need to leverage those taxpayer dollars to ensure the event is well-supported by the community, and we can come in with a key piece of that once we're confident that it's going to be a good, successful event."

Gauthier said the Downtown Vancouver BIA has agreed to commit its sponsorship support and is encouraging other members of the business community to “help make this a world-class event”.

“A city that activates its public spaces, offers free cultural events, invites a diverse group of residents to celebrate together, and elevates the pride of those that live and work here will see economic spin-offs,” said Gauthier. “We’ll be working with our partners to conduct an economic impact study for this New Year’s Eve event.”

Operational planning for the event is scheduled to begin in January 2014, and exploration of sponsorship and partnership opportunities will take place into the spring.

Comments (2) Add New Comment
Alan Layton
Smart move holding it at the convention center. Less chance it'll be rowdy. If it were at Robson Sq. then you'd get all the boneheads from Granville St. bars staggering over.
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John-Albert Eadie
No. It is a severe inconvenience to bus travelers to other parts of the city. A cute thing for car drivers only. STOP THIS STUFF.
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