December 28, 2018 6:57 pm
Updated: December 29, 2018 8:44 pm

City of Edmonton to decide Sunday if outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations should be cancelled

WATCH ABOVE: With cold weather expected on New Year's Eve, the City of Edmonton is looking at whether it will need to move its outdoor celebrations indoors. Julia Wong reports.


Temperatures are expected to dip well below zero on New Year’s Eve, so the City of Edmonton has a contingency plan in place so well-wishers don’t freeze.

READ MORE: Snowfall warnings expanded to most of Alberta, temperature to plummet

“If it’s -25C or colder with wind chill, our outdoor programming will be cancelled and we’ll shift everything indoor,” said Shannon den Besten with the City of Edmonton’s civic events and festivals department.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton reveals details for New Year’s Eve bash at legislature grounds

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The celebrations are being held at the Legislature grounds again this year due to LRT construction at Churchill Square.

den Besten said the City will make the decision about the weather on Sunday at 12 p.m. to ensure families have enough time to plan accordingly; the city will share the information on its website, social media and through 311.

Last year, the city cancelled outdoor festivities because of cold temperatures. den Besten is hopeful Monday’s expected temperatures won’t dramatically affect attendance.

“We are a winter city so I think if people are excited to get outside, they’ll just bundle up and come,” she said. “I’m hoping the weather won’t really impact too much.”

Celebrations include live music, fire pits and food trucks outside. Inside the Federal Building, festivities will include lantern making, crafts and games. The skating rink will not be accessible after 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve due to fireworks staging.

READ MORE: 9 p.m. fireworks will ring in New Year in downtown Edmonton

The event is tailored to be family-friendly, which is why the Edmonton is again ringing in the New Year with 9 p.m. fireworks.

“That’s in line with what we’ve heard over the years as far as families’ feedback enjoying an earlier show,” den Besten said. “Being at the Legislature grounds, the Federal Building closes at 9 p.m., so this allows people to enjoy the programming inside then make their way onto the Capital Plaza and enjoy the fireworks show right at 9 p.m.”

Reaction to last year’s decision was mixed, and with the celebrations moving back to Churchill Square in 2019, den Besten said there is the possibility fireworks could move back to midnight.

“We’ll do that engagement throughout the year to find out what the best time for the fireworks will be,” she said.

READ MORE: Downtown Edmonton’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration moves to Alberta legislature grounds

Watch below: New Years Eve is just around the corner and the city is busy planning what is sure to be another great event at the Alberta legislature. Shannon den Besten shares the details.

Opinions ranged for Edmontonians during an informal survey conducted by Global News on Friday.

“I think it’s better at midnight because it’s a tradition,” said Wenhao Guo.

“It’s the real deal for the new year to come.”

That opinion was seconded by Martin Salinas, who said tradition dictates that fireworks go off at midnight.

“It makes sense to ring in the new year when it actually starts,” he said.

However, Leslie Hawrelak said she understands why an earlier fireworks show is attractive.

“I think I’d like to see fireworks at 9 p.m. just for all the people with… small kids in the family. They can get out earlier and can get to bed earlier,” she said.

Free transit and road closures

The New Year’s Eve party will result in a number of parking restrictions and road closures, so you’ll want to have a game plan ready for how to make your way down there.

A stretch of 99 Avenue, from 107 Street to 109 Street, will be closed from 9 a.m. until the event ends.

Beginning at 4 p.m., the following road closures will also take effect:

  • 106 Street, from 96 Avenue to 97 Avenue
  • 96 Avenue, from 105 Street to 107 Street (access to the alley will be available to local residents)
  • Fortway Drive, north of the Royal Glenora Club
  • 107 Street, from 99 Avenue to Fortway Drive
  • 107 Street, from 96 Avenue to 99 Avenue
  • Full closure of the Terrace Building access off of River Valley Road

Complimentary transportation being is offered by Edmonton Transit Service.

Free bus and LRT service starts at 5 p.m. and will continue to be free of charge until 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 1. Free service for DATS runs until 2 a.m. However, the City said Route 599 and Route 747 to the Edmonton International Airport are not part of the free service offer.

ETS is also offering a free shuttle service from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 to bring people from 102 Avenue and 100 Street to the Government Centre Transit Centre.

Buses will be at the transit centre after the fireworks to bring people home. For more information on ETS’ New Year’s Eve service, click here.

– With files from Phil Heidenreich

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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