Thousands party in downtown Vancouver for New Year’s Eve

Click to play video: 'Push to host more free public gatherings in Vancouver'
Push to host more free public gatherings in Vancouver
Vancouver's new ABC council is pushing for a return of free public gatherings for New Year's Eve and other festivals throughout the year. Grace Ke has the story – Jan 1, 2023

New Year’s celebrations were in full swing on the streets of downtown Vancouver Saturday evening.

The return of one of the biggest nights in Vancouver had thousands of people enjoying themselves in the downtown core, especially on the Granville Street strip.

Downtown was loud and bustling, people were up and about and people told Global News the city felt alive again.

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Read more: Vancouver police expecting large turnout for downtown New Year’s Eve celebrations

The increase in activity downtown also meant an increased police presence monitoring the streets.

“As you can see there is a large crowd tonight on Granville Street and everyone is in a good mood in a festive mood really excited to ring in the new year,” said Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin.

“We have a large presence of our officers in the Granville entertainment district as well as other parts of the city like Yaletown and Gastown. We are here just to ensure the safety of everyone.”

Visintin provided an update Sunday morning on the celebrations downtown.

“There was no incidents of note (Saturday) night,” she said. “While the Granville entertainment district was busy with large crowds, everyone was in good spirits and in a festive mood.”

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Previously, BC’s Alliance of Beverage of Licensees said establishments across the downtown core were very excited to have a New Year’s Eve without any COVID-19 restrictions.

It’s the first celebration since the start of the pandemic where people were not limited by government measures.

“New Year’s Eve is an opportunity for the hospitality industry to finally recoup some of the losses from the last few years,” Jeff Guignard said on Friday, BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees’ executive director.

“We are looking forward to having an exciting New Year’s Eve for the first time in three years, really.”

The night of celebrations gave Vancouver establishments a chance to earn money that was lost during the pandemic — something the industry needed, Guignard said.

Click to play video: 'New Year’s 2023: US countdown celebrations feature fireworks, return of traditions'
New Year’s 2023: US countdown celebrations feature fireworks, return of traditions

The City of Vancouver saw the festivities Saturday night as a huge welcome back for crowds and events in the downtown core.

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A Vancouver City Councillor said he thinks it’s time to start bringing pre-pandemic entertainment back to the city.

“Now that we are worst through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we really need to start encouraging people to come back downtown and start enjoying Vancouver again,” said Peter Meizner.

“What we need to do as a city is make it as easy as possible for these events to happen.”

Meizner said moving forward, in-person live events should be a focus for the city to bring back the excitement and vibrance to the popular port city.

He said council should be willing to work with community partners to expedite events and festivals for the coming year ahead.

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