It was a Vancouver countdown more than a decade in the making.
The city’s official New Year’s Eve celebration attracted many more partygoers than the 15,000 originally expected. The official numbers released on Monday show 80,000 people attended.
“I think it was an unqualified success,” said Charles Gauthier of the Vancouver NYE Celebration Society. “Vancouverites and people from around the world embraced the event.”
It’s been a long time since Vancouver held an outdoor celebration to ring in the new year. The event featured two separate fireworks shows — one at 9 p.m. for families and another at midnight — as well as live entertainment throughout the night.
The draw of a centrally-located celebration led to a huge windfall for local businesses. The Tap & Barrel tap house doubled its profits compared to last New Year’s Eve.
“We started filling up at about 3 p.m. and we were on a wait from that point all the way until midnight,” said manager Jeremiah Bjorndal.
Other businesses like Bellagio restaurant had to shut down early because of the influx of customers.
“We couldn’t have enough staff last night,” said server Bill Stenner. “Going forward it’s a learning experience.”
Many hope the lessons learned from this year’s event will be used to create a new annual tradition in Vancouver. Organizers hope the larger-than-expected crowd will attract new sponsors. The City of Vancouver chipped in $125,000 to this year’s celebration while the rest of the money came from private sponsorship.
Sponsor Concord Pacific confirmed it plans to continue its support for the event.
“Frankly we saw the response yesterday. I think if we let this drop and not do it again next year, I think that would be a huge disappointment,” Gauthier said.
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