Thousands celebrate Canada Day in Burnaby

Plus: Mayor, council and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh attended the festivities, which ended in a large fireworks show

For the third year, Burnaby’s Canada Day StreetFest drew an enormous crowd of festival goers from Burnaby and neighbouring municipalities. Thousands of people from Burnaby and the Lower Mainland gathered for the event, which extended from Civic Square to Central Park in Metrotown. The festivities started at 6:30pm and continued until after 11pm when the fireworks show ended. 

Canada Day StreetFest family stage and booths in Civic Square beside Burnaby Public Library, Bob Prittie Metrotown. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

The event included two stages, one in Civic Square beside Burnaby Public Library Bob Prittie Metrotown and the main stage on the Central Park lawn. There were musical performances by Tiger Really, Tanika Charles, and Hayley Wallis, in addition to the headliner Dear Rouge. In addition, dancers performed Chinese traditional dances and Bollywood dances.

Festival goers brought blankets and beach chairs or sat directly on the lawn. Numerous families with children and pets had picnics and watched the shows. Hundreds of people queued for snacks in front of the food trucks parked along Patterson Avenue.

Festival goers on the Central Park lawn opposite the main stage during the Burnaby Canada Day StreetFest. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

Food trucks and festival goers along Patterson Avenue during the Canada Day StreetFest in Burnaby. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

The official opening, which included speeches from politicians, started at 8:45pm. After a land acknowledgment, Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley gave a short speech welcoming the attendees and introducing the other politicians attending the event. 

Councillors James Wang, Pietro Calendino, Sav Dhaliwal, Daniel Tetrault, Maita Santiago, Alison Gu, and Richard Lee climbed onstage with the mayor to greet attendees. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, MLA Burnaby-Deer Lake Anne Kang, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby Peter Julian, and speaker of the house and MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds Raj Chouhan also attended the festival. 

Performer on stilts at Canada Day StreetFest in Burnaby. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

“This is the third year we’re hosting this festival. Those of you who were here last year enjoyed a great party, but I think this year is shaping up to be even better, don’t you think?” Hurley said. “This festival truly reflects the diversity of our community. It’s a reminder of what makes Burnaby so special. Our community is one of the most diverse in the country. We’re extremely proud to showcase that image here tonight.”  

Hurley thanked the performers and concluded his speech by thanking and acknowledging Burnaby staff and volunteers. 

From left: Alison Gu, Grant Murray, Anne Kang, Raj Chouhan, Jagmeet Singh, Mike Hurley, Sav Dhaliwal, Richard Lee, Maita Santiago, Pietro Calendino on the main stage at Central Park during Canada Day StreetFest. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

The event was sponsored by RBC, the Government of Canada, and its media sponsor was Miss604. The presenting sponsor was Concord Pacific, a large real estate developer with several large projects throughout Burnaby. The company’s senior vice president, Grant Murray, was onstage with the politicians and gave a short speech. 

“We’re so proud to support large-scale summer and winter programs for the Burnaby community,” Murray said.  

Headliners Dear Rouge started their performance at 9:10pm, drawing a large crowd to the main stage on the Central Park lawn. The alternative rock duo played new music from their album Lonesome High and engaged with the crowd, inviting some audience members onstage. 

“We’re planning to put on an amazing show as we always do; we always put our best out there, and we’re pulling out all the stops,” Dear Rouge’s Danielle McTaggart told the Beacon before the event. 

Alternative rock duo Dear Rouge performing on the main stage in Central Park, Burnaby during Canada Day StreetFest. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

Dear Rouge’s performance concluded at 10:10pm, after which the fireworks show began. Fireworks lit up the sky above the Central Park lawn. Burnaby put on a dramatic fireworks show to music playing from the speakers, lighting up the night sky. Thousands gathered to watch the show, and many residents living near the park watched from their balconies and windows. 

Fireworks lit up the night sky in Burnaby as the grand finale to the Canada Day StreetFest. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

The show continued for about one hour, and thousands of festival goers started walking at the same time out of the Central Park area towards the Patterson and Metrotown SkyTrain stations. Fortunately, despite the crowding, Burnaby RCMP confirmed there were no stampedes or injuries. The city had closed the street on Central Boulevard. However, some roads remained open, creating what could have become a dangerous situation. The city had placed staff, security, and RCMP members at different junctions to help guide the crowd through the streets.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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