Canada Day fireworks light up the night sky over the Inner Harbour in Victoria on July 1, 2018. (File contributed/ Lindsey Blane)

Victoria councillor questions if Canada Day should strictly be a daytime event

Coun. Ben Isitt is looking at ways to pare down costs for future Canada Day events

To cut down costs on Canada Day next year, perhaps it should just be a daytime event.

That’s a suggestion Coun. Ben Isitt made at the committee of the whole meeting on Thursday morning, after hearing a report from Victoria Police Chief Del Manak regarding Canada Day costs.

“If the focus is a family-friendly event, do we maybe look at a daytime event– one that ends by dinner time?” Isitt asked, voicing concerns for public alcohol consumption. “If they were confined to sidewalks maybe some of that disorder would be less appealing.”

ALSO READ: Victoria Police Department requests cash to cover Canada Day

Isitt brought forward the question after learning from Manak that other events, like Car Free YYJ, have lower costs because of their short, daytime hours and a focus on families and businesses. While Canada Day also holds these priorities, the event is longer and goes into the night for a fireworks display.

Manak said he wasn’t certain that shortened hours would work simply because of the volume of people downtown on July 1, which usually sits between 45,000-55,000.

“It’s easy to say in council chambers here, just to confine yourself to a sidewalk,” Manak said. “I think there has to be an understanding of realistically managing large crowds, spaces and what is a safe area to allow people to disperse safely.”

Isitt also asked if limiting the geographical area of the event would help pare costs, to which Manak said security measures would need to be in place regardless of the size.

ALSO READ: Victoria agrees to fund Canada Day, special event policing – calls on feds to cover military events

“In light of the number of low tech, low planning vehicle attacks we’ve seen round the world we need to be sure there’s considerable distance between where the road closures occur and the crowds,” Manak said. “I think the actual footprint of the event would probably remain the same because we still need that buffer zone.”

Isitt emphasized that surely daytime hours would discourage public drunkeness, which prompted Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, who’s been on the Canada Day planning committee for many years to reaffirm her take on what the celebration is about.

“For me the event is less of what people call a party, but an opportunity to express their pride for being Canadian,” Thornton-Joe said, adding that over the years the event has extended beyond a fireworks show.

“The hours have changed because of demand,” She said. “Having been there for 19 years, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen how the police are needed.”

Council will still need to ratify the vote to provide police funding for Canada Day and other public events, totalling $135,000, on Thursday night. This funding was tentatively approved by the committee of the whole on June 6.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read