Canada Day moves away from Victoria Park this year

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on May 26, 2014

A large crowd has been at Victoria Park in Charlottetown all day Monday to celebrate Canada Day festivities.

There won’t be any party hats at Victoria Park on Canada Day this year.

The City of Charlottetown and P.E.I. 2014 Inc. have partnered up to spread the fun around the capital city, with Confederation Landing Park and the Charlottetown Event Grounds serving as the two major locations for the big 150th anniversary celebrations of Confederation.

A fireworks display that is being teased as the biggest in Canada this year will still be visible from Victoria Park, as well as from just about anywhere else on the waterfront.

The city had made Victoria Park the focal point for Canada Day celebrations the past two years.

Penny Walsh McGuire, executive director of P.E.I. 2014 Inc., said her group has been consulting with the city’s economic development and culture committee.

Walsh McGuire said with the big Canada Day concert at the event grounds and kicking off the Celebration Zone at Confederation Landing it only made sense to utilize areas where the crowds were going to be.

“We were very strategic in working with the city and our other partners,’’ Walsh McGuire said Tuesday, noting that both locations are within walking distance of each other. “We certainly want as many people to enjoy Canada Day.’’

Wayne Long, events development officer with the city who also sits on the 2014 board, said the idea is to make the events grander in scope. He noted that the new year’s celebration was moved from Victoria Park this past year to Great George Street.

“2014 came to us with a request to do the event in historic downtown Charlottetown where history lives and that’s where we did the activity. We worked with them to ensure the event was a higher scale and better for everyone,’’ Long said, noting the same process unfolded for Canada Day.

Mayor Clifford Lee says Canada Day celebrations will return to Victoria Park next year.

“Everything that took place in Victoria Park will be replicated on the waterfront. It will be a bigger event,’’ Lee said, adding that the partnership is better for the taxpayer because the city isn’t putting in anymore than the $50,000 it usually does. “2014 is helping us pay the bills.’’

Coun. Mitchell Tweel says he’s disappointed there are no Canada Day activities at Victoria Park this year.

Tweel said he lobbied two years ago to have most of the activities return to Victoria Park where they had been until Confederation Landing Park took over.

“I lobbied for a variety of reasons. There is a lot of open green space (at Victoria Park),’’ Tweel said. “It’s not as intrusive as the other venues are. It’s much easier for families to go down and relax and not be caught in that intensity. A lot of residents didn’t enjoy going down to Confederation Landing because it’s not the proper venue.’’

Tweel said the change shouldn’t have been made, even for one year.

“Personally, I’m disappointed.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart