B.C.’s big summer events uncertain as Celebration of Light cancelled again

The Burrard Street Bridge is seen in the foreground as fireworks from Team China blast over the waters of English Bay during the Celebration of Light in Vancouver, Saturday, July 30, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Honda Celebration of Light fireworks show has been cancelled for the second straight year, organizers announced Monday.

They said they have been forced to cancel the event again because of the COVID-19 pandemic as they are not able to deliver the show in a safe manner.

The annual show in English Bay regularly attracted hundreds of thousands of people each year.

The Vancouver Fireworks Festival society said “the event will return bigger and better than ever for its milestone 30th season” in 2022.

Click to play video: 'No New Year’s fireworks in Vancouver'
No New Year’s fireworks in Vancouver
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This news comes as other B.C. summer events are still hoping to go ahead this year with COVID-19 safety plans in place.

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However, there are no guarantees events such as the annual Pride Parade in downtown Vancouver, Canada Day celebrations and the PNE will be allowed to run.

Playland had been scheduled to reopen with safety protocols on May 1, but officials paused that until after the May long weekend amid public outcry over COVID-19 concerns and amid strict restrictions on travel and the restaurant industry.

Click to play video: 'Playland hits pause on re-opening'
Playland hits pause on re-opening

On Friday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the PNE needs $8 million in urgent, emergency aid from the provincial government or is at risk of folding due to the pandemic.

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The annual summer fair’s revenue situation is “so dire that the PNE as we now know and love it could end, despite the City of Vancouver backstopping the PNE’s ever-growing line of credit,” Stewart said.

The PNE employs about 4,300 people and, according to executives, supports another 9,500 indirect jobs along with a $200-million economic impact on the region.

Click to play video: 'PNE president on why amusement park should be considered for pandemic-related relief grants'
PNE president on why amusement park should be considered for pandemic-related relief grants

On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are still things they don’t know about COVID and the spread but they hope with the increase in vaccine arriving in B.C., some small outdoor events can still go ahead.

However, larger events, even outdoors, are likely not able to go ahead, Henry added.

“There will not be big events where there are lots of crowds of people this summer,” she said.

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—with files from Simon Little

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